Big Oil Eyes A Little Geothermal

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Once seen as the craven political mantra of oil hungry maniacs, “Drill, baby, drill!” might now be the roadmap to clean energy.

Some of the biggest firms in Big Oil have come together to invest $40 million in Calgary-based Eavor Technologies, a startup that uses their industry’s drilling expertise to extract low-carbon energy from heat below the earth’s surface.

When You’re Lucky to Be in Hot Water

Dig this: Eavor has developed technology based on the drilling techniques of the oil and gas industry to find geothermal heat.

The company digs an 8-inch hole that loops about 1.25 to 2 miles underground. It then circulates water through the loop, which is naturally heated by the earth below. At the surface, this can be used to heat buildings or converted into electricity.

Eavor will use the new money on R&D, and said it believes scaling up will bring down costs. Its current goal is to provide enough capacity for 10 million homes by 2030.

Geothermal Eclipse

Geothermal power is still considered niche. There was only 15.6 gigawatts of installed capacity in 2019, as opposed to 644 gigawatts of solar. But, if you get in on the fandom now, it’s like being able to say you were into The Strokes before everyone else in 2000 or Tyler the Creator back in 2009.

Eavor, for its part, plans to grow the areas where geothermal is used, and currently has projects in Germany, the Netherlands, Japan and the U.S. in development. A 15-megawatt project near Munich will begin drilling in January 2022, and about $243 million.

the takeaway

If we can bring geothermal power beyond Iceland, is there any way we could bring the geothermal spas, too?

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(Photo Credit: Zhang Kaiyv/Unsplash)

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