The exploitation of geothermal energy stored beneath the Earth’s surface to generate renewable energy is one of the new visions for the future, which has attracted the attention of environmentalists and oil and gas engineers alike.
This is because it is not only a way of generating electricity that does not depend on greenhouse gases emitting hydrocarbons, but because it uses the same skills and expertise that the oil and gas industry has been honoring and refining over the years. Used to be.
At least that is what attracted the former completion engineer (that’s not what it sounds like) to the industry to launch Tim Latimer and Farvo Energy, Houston-based geothermal tech developer Joe Bill Gates’s Breaking Energy Ventures Takes funding from none other than (that fund is… so busy) and the Capricorn Investment Group of former eBay executive, Jeff Skole.
Joe Latimer said on Fervo’s plan to complete its projects with a new $ 28 million cash sum “will bring hundreds of megawatts of electricity over the next few years.”
Latimer got his first exposure to the environmental impact of electricity generation, growing up as a child in a small town outside of Waco, one of the last coal-powered plants to be built in Texas, US, near the Sandy Creek Coal Power Plant One
Like many children in Texas, Latimer came from an oil family and before getting his first job in the oil and gas industry realized that the world was going to switch to the renewable and oil industry – along with friends and family he knew – May be left high and dry.
This is one of the reasons he started working on Faro, the entrepreneur said.
“Most importantly, from my point of view, since I started my career in the oil and gas industry, is providing people with a part of the energy transition on the fossil fuel side to work in a clean energy future,” Latimer he said. “I have been able to go to contractors and support people who have been out of work or challenged because of the oil price crash… and I have put them to work on our rigs. “
When the Biden administration talks about finding jobs for employees in the hydrocarbon industry as part of the energy transition, that’s exactly what they do.
And geothermal power is no longer constrained by geography, so there are abundant resources to tap and the potential for high-paying jobs in areas that already depend on geological services work, Latimer said (of last year Finally, Vaux had published a good overview. The opportunity presented by history and technology).
“A large percentage of the world’s population lives next to really good geothermal resources,” Latimer said. “Today 25 countries that have geothermal installed and producing and another 25 where geothermal development is taking place.”
Latimer said that in fact there is a long history of geological power generation in parts of the Western US and Africa where naturally occurring geysers and steam jets have been clear indicators of good geothermal resources.
“FaroThe technology opens up a new class of geothermal resource that is ready for large-scale deployment. Faro“Geothermal systems use novel techniques including horizontal drilling, distributed fiber optic sensing, and advanced computational modeling,” Latimer wrote in an email. “FaroThe technology combines with the latest advances in organic Rankine bicycle manufacturing systems to deliver flexible, 24/7 carbon-free electricity. “
Initially developed with a grant from the Tomcat Center at Stanford University and a fellowship funded by Activate.org in Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s Cyclotron Road division, Fervo continued funding from DOE’s Office of Geothermal Technology and ARPA-E The work has continued. With partners such as Shalmberger, Rice University and Berkeley Lab.
The combination of new and old technology is opening up huge geography for the company to potentially develop new projects.
Other companies are also exploiting geothermal energy to run the renewable energy generation development business. They are startups like Eavor, supporting energy majors like bp Ventures, Chevron Technology Ventures, Temasek, BDC Capital, Eversource and Vickers Venture Partners; And other players including Greenfare Energy, and Sage Geosystems.
Demand for geothermal projects has skyrocketed, opening up large markets for startups that may raise the cost issue for geothermal development. As Latimer noted, There was only one major geothermal contract from 2016 to 2019, but in 2020 ten new major power purchase agreements were signed by the industry.
For all these projects, cost remains a factor. According to Latimer, contracts that are being signed for geothermal are in the range of $ 65 to $ 75 per MW. By comparison, solar plants are now coming in somewhere between $ 35 and $ 55 per MW, as The Verge reported last year.
But Latimer said the stability and predictability of geothermal power has reduced the cost differential for utilities and businesses requiring assurance of uninterrupted power supply. As a current Houston resident, the point is that Letimer has an intimate experience from this year’s winter freeze, which left him without power for five days.
In fact, the geothermal capacity to always provide clean power makes it an incredibly attractive option. In a recent study by the Department of Energy, geothermal could equal 16% of America’s electricity demand, and other estimates put the contribution of geothermal at about 20% of a fully carbonated grid.
“We have long believed in geothermal energy, but waited until we saw the right technology and team to drive innovation in the field,” Ayan Yadigaroglu of the Capricorn Investment Group said in a statement. “Fervo’s technology capabilities and the partnerships they have formed with leading research organizations make them clear leaders in the new wave of geothermal.”