Fervo Energy announced a breakthrough in geothermal technology. This was reported by Engadget.
The company conducted a 30-day well test at its Project Red facility in northern Nevada. Here, it was able to achieve a flow rate of 63 l/s at high temperature, which allows for the production of 3.5 MW of electricity.
According to Fervo Energy, the test set record flow and power rates for an enhanced geothermal system (EGS) and the test itself was incident-free.
Fervo is expected to bring Project Red online this year. It will be used to power Google’s data centers and some other company infrastructure in Nevada.
In 2021, Google and Fervo signed an agreement to develop a “next-generation geothermal energy project.”
This is the first time an energy company has demonstrated that EGS can work on a commercial scale. It’s been a long road since scientists have been trying to make EGS a reality since the 1970s.
For a natural geothermal system to generate electricity, a combination of heat, fluid and rock permeability is required, Bloomberg notes. In many places, the rocks have the required level of heat, but are not permeable enough for fluids to flow through them. EGS creates this permeability artificially.
One of the main advantages of geothermal power plants is that they are completely carbon-free – by 2030, Google plans to switch all of its offices and data centers to carbon-free energy. These stations can also be open at any time. This favorably distinguishes it from solar and wind power plants.