The company behind a ‘next generation’ geothermal energy technology that hopes to power Google’s operations claimed tests have confirmed its commercial viability.
Fervo Energy is setting out to develop new horizontal geothermal drilling techniques applying technology from the oil & gas industry that it reckons can open up entire new markets previously inaccessible to a renewable energy source which taps heat from deep below the earth.
Fervo said a 30-day test in the US state of Nevada showed its system achieving a 63-litre per second flow rate at high temperatures, enabling 3.5MW of power production.
Those are “new records for both flow and power output from an enhanced geothermal system”, claimed Fervo, whose investors include Breakthrough Energy Ventures, which is itself backed by billionaires such as Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson.
Fervo signed a deal with Google in 2021 to develop the technology with a view to using it to power the web giant’s Google Cloud region in Las Vegas.
“Achieving our goal of operating on 24/7 carbon-free energy will require new sources of firm, clean power to complement variable renewables like wind and solar,” said Michael Terrell, senior director for energy and climate, Google.
“We partnered with Fervo in 2021 because we see significant potential for their geothermal technology to unlock a critical source of 24/7 carbon-free energy at scale. We are thrilled to see Fervo reach this important technical milestone.”
The US Department of Energy has previously said geothermal has the potential to supply more than 20% of US power needs.
Recharge reported earlier this week how another geothermal technologydeveloped by Canadian group Eavor had been backed by Japanese utility Chubu at a pilot commercial project in Germany.