Energy solutions that satisfy the desires of both environmentalists and oil and gas engineers are few and far between. In fact, the only mutually compatible solution might be geothermal technology. Whereas solar and wind power bypass any necessary involvement from the oil and gas industry, the nature of geothermal tech means that the skills and expertise of oil and gas engineers are directly applicable to this sector of the energy industry. This isn’t the only reason that advanced geothermal energy development company Fervo Energy has been able to raise $28 million in Series B funding, but it is a factor that definitely plays in its favor.
The need to transition rapidly away from carbon based energy sources is beyond urgent, and Fervo Energy’s mission of using transformative geothermal technology as an energy source is a method with high growth potential. While geothermal power generation has been around for decades, Fervo Energy has found a way to increase its productivity and lower the cost. The company uses a suite of proprietary solutions along with existing technologies from the oil and gas industry to achieve these impacts.
Horizontal drilling and distributed fiber optic sensing are examples of oil and gas tech that Fervo Energy are applying to geothermal energy. It has led to the tapping of geothermal resources that were previously unavailable, and has the potential to unlock large amounts of new geothermal resources around the globe. The technology also presents opportunities for workers from the oil and gas industry to directly transfer their skills to the sustainable clean energy sector.
A key advantage of geothermal technology over other sources such as wind and solar is the fact that it is a continuous source of energy. Tim Latimer, CEO of Fervo Energy, recognizes this as a key factor. “Providing reliable, round-the-clock, carbon-free energy solutions is one of the major challenges of our time,” he said. “Geothermal power has been around for decades and with the right technology, can make 100% carbon free energy a reality around the world. This round of funding will enable the growth we need to reach that goal.”
The funding round was led by Capricorn Investment group and also included existing investors such as Breakthrough Energy Ventures, 3X5 Partners, Congruent Ventures, and Elemental Excelerator. Additionally and Helmerich & Payne. The $28 million will be used to scale up Fervo Energy’s operations and is a clear signal of confidence. In a statement, Ion Yadigaroglu of Capricorn Investment Group said, “We’ve long been believers in geothermal energy but have waited until we’ve seen the right technology and team to drive innovation in the sector. Fervo’s technology capabilities and the partnerships they’ve created with leading research organizations make them the clear leader in the new wave of geothermal.”
To begin with, Fervo Energy will be using the new financing to expand its operations in western United States, where there is already a history of using naturally occurring geysers and steam jets as a geothermal source of energy. The planned expansion will ensure that geothermal tech becomes an integral part of the fight against climate change. Carmichael Roberts of Breakthrough Energy Ventures recognizes the important role that geothermal has to play. “Achieving a fully decarbonized electric grid is a significant challenge, and we need resources to complement wind, solar, and batteries to decarbonize the most challenging hours of the year,” he said. “Geothermal energy can play that role, and Fervo’s technology solutions will help rapidly scale new geothermal resources.”
Image credit: Fervo Energy