News and Updates

diagram of borehole and geology

News – 2022

February 2022: Wondering what rocks and conditions will be encountered as the geothermal exploration borehole, CUBO, advances downward? In the second video in the series “Going Deep to Solve a Big Problem,” this one titled “The Heat Beneath Our Feet”, hosts Roberto and Kiana describe the increasing temperatures that are expected, highlight notable rock units that have been exploited as natural resources elsewhere, and briefly describe the rocks targeted as potential geothermal heat reservoirs.

February 2022: Staff of Cornell’s Facilities department are completing numerous steps to finalize contracts with a drilling company, a company that will provide an integrated set of wells services, and to purchase and assemble on site the necessary materials for drilling CUBO. The target drilling date is planned for the latter half of spring 2022.

December 2021 and January 2022: Staff and leadership in Cornell’s Facilities department, in close partnership with faculty, technical staff and leaders of the College of Engineering, are evaluating bids submitted by private companies with the equipment and expertise needed drill the CUBO borehole and perform the services related to drilling, completing, logging and testing.

News – 2021

November 9, 2021: The public visited the intended exploration borehole site. At a set of stations, they spoke to the CUBO project team members and to university staff members who are at the center of efforts to convert campus activities to non-carbon energy sources. Details at:

September 2021: The first in a series of videos to accompany the Cornell University Borehole Observatory project “Going Deep to Solve a Big Problem,” titled “Exploring Geothermal Heat”, explains why geothermal heat is an valuable renewable energy source that is needed for the transition away from fossil fuels. Hosts Kiana and Roberto and CUBO project engineers and scientists put CUBO into the context of the energy transition.

August 2021: A new animation of the details of drilling the CUBO borehole has been posted on the main page of the Cornell Earth Source Heat website.

June 2021: Funding has been approved to continue at least through August 2022 the monitoring of natural and anthropogenic seismic signals, and analyzing the data.

May 2021. Nicolás Rangel Jurado successfully defended his Master’s thesis, on the topic “Thermal Performance Evaluations of Fractured and Closed-Loop Geothermal Reservoirs.” Nico’s work was supervised by Assistant Professor Patrick Fulton, with extensive collaboration with Professor Jeff Tester, Post-Doc Adam Hawkins, and NREL’s Koenraad Beckers. After completing the final details of the degree, Nico has begun a doctoral program in the geothermal energy research group at ETH Zurich.

Spring 2021: Capuano Engineering Company has officially joined the CUBO team as Drilling Engineers. Capuano Engineering has worked closely with Cornell’s team to design the drilling and logging technical specifications. They will participate in selection of the most qualified contractors and, when drilling is in progress, one of their engineers will be present on the drill site to provide technical oversight of the contracted drilling, casing, and logging services. Cornell’s team will depend heavily on the advice of Capuano Engineering when reaching decisions about progressive adjustments to plans as drilling proceeds. Capuano Engineering Company has specialized in geothermal wells for nearly 5o years.

19 January 2021: Researchers Professor Teresa Jordan and Engineer Steve Beyers contributed to a Cornell-sponsored virtual Town Hall, to update the community on the research that led to the intended drilling of the Cornell University Borehole Observatory (CUBO), funded by the Department of Energy. Also participating with Rick Burgess, Vice President, Facilities and Campus Services, and Anthony Ingraffea, the Dwight C. Baum Professor of Engineering Emeritus.




News – 2019-2020

01-17 December 2020: As part of the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, the AGU TV media activities included a video about Cornell’s aspirations for Earth Source Heat and the soon-to-begin exploratory borehole.

 09 December 2020: Graduate student Nicolás Rangel Jurado presented a paper at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, titled “Effects of Realistic Aperture Distributions on the Thermal Performance of Discretely Fractured Geothermal Reservoirs.” His coauthors and collaborators were Assistant Professor Patrick Fulton, Post Doctoral Associate Adam Hawkins, graduate student Ivanakbar Purwamaska, and Professor Jefferson Tester. The paper was in a set of contributions in a session dedicated to “Coupled Flow Processes in Fractured Media Across Scales: Recent Advances in Experimental and Modeling Efforts.”

01 December 2020:  A newly published paper in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Drilling details the opportunities to extend scientific understanding of the hydrology, mechanics and deep biosphere of the continental crust while simultaneously advancing the rigorous analysis of Cornell’s Earth Source Heat aspiration.

September 10, 2020: American Geophysical Unions EOS published a Science Update, “Exploring by Boring: Geothermal Wells as Research Tools” that highlights the ICDP workshop borehole planning activities and the soon-to-be-drilled Cornell exploration borehole. 

July 29, 2020: The U.S. Department of Energy’s Geothermal Technologies Office announced that Cornell University was selected to receive funding to drill an exploratory borehole on campus, to test the technical feasibility of extracting deep earth heat to Cornell’s district heating system. The project plan is described by the Cornell Chronicle.

August 27, 2019: The International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP) sponsored a Workshop to design a science plan for a Cornell deep geothermal pilot well, 8-10 January 2020, in Ithaca, NY.

August 27, 2019: The new semester finds student groups working on the use of tracers to investigate geothermal reservoir performance, and fractures in the basement rocks that are a reservoir target for a Cornell pilot borehole.

News – 2018 

News – 2017 

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