Geothermal energy is probably the greatest potential renewable energy source with the least amount of public awareness. It certainly spends much less time in the public gaze than wind, solar or biofuels. Recently the US Department of Energy announced in was investing $90-million in order to shine a spotlight on geothermal. Now Google is getting into the geothermal funding act.
2% of Geothermal Potential = 2500 Times Current Demand
Through its philanthropic arm, Google.org, and as part of its Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal initiative, Google will be investing nearly $10.5 million into three projects researching advanced geothermal power. The technology Google is betting on is known as Enhanced Geothermal Systems. MIT estimates that, using EGS, just 2% of the heat below the United States at depths of 3-10 kilometers would be supply 2500 times the nation’s current energy needs.
Google touts the benefits of EGS
EGS expands the potential of geothermal energy by orders of magnitude. The traditional geothermal approach relies on finding naturally occurring pockets of steam and hot water. The EGS process, by comparison, replicates these conditions by fracturing hot rock, circulating water through the system, and using the resulting steam to produce electricity in a conventional turbine.
More on EGS from Google: A Googol of Heat Beneath Our Feet
Three Projects Receive Funding
Two companies and a university will divvy up the funds:
AltaRock Energy will receive $6.25 million to research reducing the cost of EGS and improving its performance. Potter Drilling will receive $4 million to research lowering the cost and expanding the range of deep hard rock drilling. Southern Methodist University Geothermal Lab will receive $490,000 to study the size and distribution of geothermal resources and update geothermal mapping in North America.
via :: Business Wire
US Department of Energy to Invest $90 Million in Advanced Geothermal Research
Geothermal Energy Tapped to Power Oregon Institute of Technology
Alaskan Volcanoes to be Surveyed, Tapped for Geothermal Power