Earth Source Heat

Earth Source Heat: Creating carbon neutral, deep geothermal heating systems

Earth Source Heat (ESH) is Cornell's version of a deep geothermal system that would use the Earth's internal heat to warm the Ithaca campus without the use of fossil fuels. The project is a research collaboration across several academic departments along with campus facilities staff, and it is a major component of the university's goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2035. If viable, ESH could also become a scalable solution for renewable heating in New York and in cold-climate regions across the globe.

Cornell University Borehole Observatory (CUBO) Project Updates

Members of the project team provide regular updates during drilling for the Cornell University Borehole Observatory (CUBO). New videos are typically posted weekly on Thursdays.
View all project videos

Cornell scientists are committed to studying and addressing these issues in a thorough and transparent manner, developing best practices that will minimize risk and provide guidance for others who might implement this technology.

The next phase in this exciting project is to drill an exploratory borehole, called the Cornell University Borehole Observatory (CUBO), which will allow scientists to further explore deep surface rock conditions and heat output.

CUBO Activity Tracking

Find additional updates on Cornell's Deep Geothermal Heat Research website.

Updated on 8/9/2022

  • 8982 ft
    Current drill depth
  • 90%
    Percentage of expected total depth
  • Galway formation
    Current rock layer

Water Monitoring System Status

Monitoring proceeding as planned, results within expected range

Seismic Monitoring Network Operational Status

Proceeding as planned

Water Quality

No water quality impact detected

Seismic Activity Level

Consistent with typically occuring activity in the area

Project status

During the past week we began drilling the final 8.5 inch section of the well, starting at 7,823 feet. As of August 8, we had reached a depth of 8,982 feet. Drill cuttings continue to be collected in containers on site, characterized by laboratory testing, and sent to a licensed landfill for safe disposal. Environmental monitoring programs are in place to measure groundwater and surface water quality and microseismicity.

During the coming week, we plan to complete the drilling to a depth of 10,000 feet. That will be followed by a program of geophysical, geological and hydrological measurements and testing to study the properties of the bedrock, fractures and fluids within potential geothermal development zones at depths between 8,000 and 10,000 feet.

This dashboard will be updated every Tuesday throughout the drilling process. If Monday is a university holiday, this dashboard will be updated on Wednesday.