You probably know Google as the internet wonder-company that saved the search business. But did you know that GOOG is poised to save us from the energy crisis too?
Google’s philanthropic arm has invested $10 million in a geothermal technology that promises to “Supply Thousands of Times US Energy Needs.” And we have to admit: It sounds pretty cool:
In the continuing effort to develop electricity from renewable energy cheaper than from coal, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), through its philanthropic arm Google.org, announced $10.25 million in investments in a breakthrough energy technology called Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS). Today’s announcement also includes funding for research on next-generation geothermal resource mapping, EGS information tools, and a policy agenda for geothermal energy.
EGS expands the potential of geothermal energy by orders of magnitude. The traditional geothermal approach relies on finding naturally occurring pockets of steam and 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.
A recent MIT report on EGS estimates that just 2% of the heat below the continental United States between 3 and 10 kilometers, depths within the range of current drilling technology, is more than 2,500 times the country’s total annual energy use.
“EGS could be the ‘killer app’ of the energy world. It has the potential to deliver vast quantities of power 24/7 and be captured nearly anywhere on the planet. And it would be a perfect complement to intermittent sources like solar and wind,” said Dan Reicher, Director of Climate and Energy Initiatives for Google.org.
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