Fervo Energy announced earlier this week that it will be working on an innovative design that combined geothermal and direct air capture technology. The company announced today that it will design and engineer a fully integrated geothermal and direct air capture (DAC) facility.
Vital financial support for the novel technology has been provided by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), which previously announced it has set aside $44 million for carbon removal projects.
“Geothermal can deliver the carbon-free power and heat needed to make DAC a viable means for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere,” said Tim Latimer, CEO of Fervo Energy. “With robust expertise in geosciences and new support from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Fervo is well positioned to drive innovation in carbon removal and demonstrate the natural alignment between geothermal and DAC.”
Direct air capture facilities use fans to circulate air through membranes that trap its CO2. That carbon dioxide is then concentrated and either transported or pumped underground.
This entire process is unsurprisingly energy-intensive and to achieve its goal of ultimately reducing emissions in the atmosphere it needs a renewable energy source.
Startups in the sector are already experimenting with hydrogen and solar sources of energy, but the Fervo Energy approach will rely on geothermal.
The company’s technology has adapted existing innovations like horizontal drilling and distributed fiber optic sensing, essentially turning reservoirs of hot rock underground into sources of affordable clean energy.
The funding Fervo has just received will help the company utilize geothermal resources for an uninterrupted flow of geothermal power, that will be used for the DAC systems. It will also explore the potential of the geothermal reservoirs potential for pumping the CO2 underground and sequestering it.
“In order to scale carbon removal, costs need to come down dramatically. Fervo’s unique integration of next-generation geothermal technology with direct air capture creates exciting opportunities to develop rigorous carbon removal at a lower cost while providing a reliable, abundant, carbon-free source of power and heat,” said CZI Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Caitlyn Fox.