Google invests in geothermal technology

by Antonio Pasolini on August 29, 2008

Last week I wrote about the growth of geothermal energy, an area I personally hadn’t heard much about until then. As chance would have it, a few days later Green Wombat (Fortune magazine’s energy blog) reported that “ is investing nearly $11 million in technology to expand the nation’s geothermal reserves. That’s more than the U.S. government is spending on geothermal projects this year”.

The technology is called Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS), which represents a leap forward from traditional geothermal energy. The latter relies on finding naturally occurring pockets of steam or hot water. “The EGS process, by comparison, replicates these conditions by fracturing hot rock, circulating water through the system, and using the resulting steam to produce electricity in a conventional turbine”, said in a statement.

EGS has the potential to provide clean renewable electricity 24/7, at a cost cheaper than coal. The ability to produce electricity from geothermal energy has been thought exclusive to locations such as California and Iceland. However EGS could allow us to harness the heat within the earth almost anywhere.

“Now, that’s hot”, added Quite right.

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