SMU's Geothermal Map of North AmericaSearch engine giant Google will help fund SMU’s geothermal resource mapping, underscoring the importance of the University’s research toward alternate energy technology., the philanthropic arm of the Silicon Valley web company, will grant nearly $500,000 to the Geothermal Lab in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences to update mapping of geothermal resources. The Google grant will allow SMU to provide information on the potential for geothermal energy production in regions where geothermal data has previously been spotty or unavailable.

“Enhanced geothermal systems could be the ‘killer app’ of the energy world,” said Dan Reicher, director of climate and energy initiatives for “It has the potential to deliver vast quantities of power 24/7 and be captured nearly anywhere on the planet. And it would be a perfect complement to intermittent sources like solar and wind.”

David Blackwell, Hamilton Professor of Geothermal Studies in the Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, and Maria Richards, Geothermal Lab coordinator, previously collaborated on the Geothermal Map of North America (right) for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists in 2004. The SMU map shows the potential for enhanced geothermal systems development nationwide.

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See a video on how enhanced geothermal systems work.