Right beneath our feet, we have a clean energy source
I am sure you would have heard of it...
I am talking about Geothermal Energy.
The heat stored in the Earth’s crust is known as Geothermal Energy.
It is carbon-free and effectively inexhaustible.
There’s enough of it to run all of civilization for generations.
It would never run out if it could be cost-effectively tapped.
And Geothermal Energy is not just about volcanoes and geysers- which most of us might have read at some point in time.
You don’t need to live near a volcano or a geyser to use this form of energy.
These 3 startups prove that⬇️
Did you know?… Heavy snowfall blanketed Toronto this week- one of the biggest snowstorms in recent history. I was privileged enough to stay indoors in a heated apartment. Most of the buildings like mine use oil and natural gas furnaces to keep their residents warm. But they keep us comfortable at a cost to the planet- these systems are major greenhouse gas emitters. ~12% of US greenhouse emissions come from heating/cooling buildings.
Carbon-free heating…Geothermal is a low-energy solution to heat/cool buildings. US-based Dandelion Energy is on a mission to tap it in a manner that’s economical for homeowners. They are targeting individual homes that are using conventional methods like fuel oil or propane. They provide an end-to-end service to these customers- assessing the property, drilling a series of underground pipes, and installing heat pumps. Here’s how it works-
A heat pump is placed inside the house and it is connected to a buried pipe system in the ground, called ground loop. (image below)
The ground loop circulates heat transfer fluid through it. The heat system and this fluid continuously transfer heat.
During summer, it draws heat from the air in the home and transfers it to the ground. During winter, it draws heat from the ground and transfers it to the home.
Save money from day one…Dandelion has also devised a financial plan to make it easier for the customers to make the switch. Customers don’t have to pay anything upfront and the entire cost of it is extended as a loan. Customers pay a fixed monthly cost that is lower than their previous heating and cooling costs. Their smart monitoring system helps keep the potential problems away.
Let’s go…Solar and wind energy are great alternatives to fossil fuels. But they are dependent on advanced battery systems to store and provide reliable, round-the-clock energy. A lot of work is being done to improve the battery systems. On the other hand, geothermal energy does not need storage and is available all the time. It’s 100% carbon-free energy that’s waiting to be extracted at the right cost by using the right resources.
We have the skills…But moving to these alternative sources of energy would definitely put a lot of oil and gas workers out of jobs. With geothermal energy though, the skills and expertise of oil and gas engineers can be put to use. Right from drilling to finding the right spots using fibre optic technology, these skills are transferable. And Fervo Energy is using that to tap the geothermal energy stored beneath the Earth’s surface.
They are leveraging the innovation done in the drilling and production of oil & gas to extract geothermal energy.
They use AI and machine learning to identify more productive zones of geothermal energy.
This energy is used to produce 24x7 carbon-free energy.
Matchmaking done right…They have partnered with Google that will use geothermal energy to produce carbon-free power to the grid that serves Google’s data centers and infrastructure throughout Nevada. Google and Fervo Energy will also develop the use of AI and machine learning for geothermal energy production.
Limiting factor…Geothermal energy is available everywhere on the planet. But there are only selected locations where it is available near the Earth’s surface. In these areas, not a lot of drilling is required to tap this energy(like in Dandelion’s case). But that’s not the case everywhere on the planet. In most areas, you have to drill more than 10 km to tap this energy. This constraint limits this energy source. The limitations in drilling technology add to the problem. But, as Obama says…
Deeper, hotter, faster…Quaise has developed a breakthrough technology for drilling at depths beyond what can be accomplished today with conventional drilling. They are developing and commercializing novel millimetre wave drilling systems to harness geothermal energy around the globe- making it location agnostic.
The company is working toward accessing depths of 10-20 km where temperatures are in the range of 500°C.
At these depths, geothermal energy is available in most parts of the world.
Their gyrotron-powered drilling platform makes it easy to cut through rock and access deep geothermal heat.
All grounds covered…When you drill at these depths, the electronics of your equipment should be able to withstand temperatures of 200°C or more. Also, at such depths, the rocks are so hard and hot that your drilling equipment might just give up and has to be replaced continuously. It takes a week to just pull it out and another week to put it back in. Quaise’s technology would save all this time and effort.
🙋Trivia of the week
In their new book The Future We Choose, Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac tell a curious story.
They mention how this important climate event, attended by 25000 people, held in X (city) was about to be cancelled midway due to a bomb scare.
They further go on to say “the bomb scare had happened despite the heightened security throughout X(city) following the famous November 13 terrorist attacks two weeks earlier.”
Which event and city am I talking about here?
📖 A book that I have been reading
The book I am reading this week is Climate Change is Racist by Jeremy Williams.
I am 1/3rd through this book and there’s so much to absorb that I am reading it very slowly.
As Jeremy rightly mentions in the beginning, it’s not a comfortable book to read.
Every other sentence challenges you to think of the climate change problem from racism’s angle.
If you liked this edition, please do share it. That would mean a lot😊
Thanks for reading 🤷🏽♂️ Not My Problem! If you haven’t, subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
Thanks and see you next week😄
Dear Naman... I really appreciate your posts! But I wish you did not use political figures in the little animated images - or else that you clearly included visuals of people from multiple political perspectives. There are conservatives who share these concerns and values - why not highlight moments from them, as well! I'd feel much more comfortable sharing these with some in my circle if I didn't think they would immediately dismiss them because they see an image of Obama or Kamala Harris.
La reponse est Paris!