A new geothermal system uses far less water than traditional systems, making it more sustainable
Spotted: Geothermal energy represents a vast, inexhaustible energy source located right beneath our feet. In fact, geothermal already produces a significant share of the electricity used in countries such as Iceland, El Salvador, New Zealand, Kenya, and the Philippines. In the US, it currently provides one per cent of the country’s energy capacity, and this could increase to eight per cent by 2050.
XGS Energy is working to increase the use of geothermal energy. It has developed a unique heat-harvesting technology that could result in better access to geothermal energy. The system involves drilling a single, directional well to access rock at temperatures of 250°C or higher. The company then establishes a network of thermally conductive material around the wellbore that ‘pulls’ heat to the well. The heat is collected through thermally conductive cement and well casings, and is used to heat water running through a coaxial closed-loop system.
Once heated, the hot water is returned to the surface, where the heat can be used directly or converted to electricity using off-shelf power production infrastructure. This closed-loop system is more efficient than traditional geothermal systems and uses much less water.
The startup has recently secured $19 million (around €17.6 million) in financing, which includes a series A round led by Anzu Partners. David Seldin, managing partner at Anzu, explained: “XGS Energy’s technology is a breakthrough approach to unlocking virtually unlimited energy from hot rock resources, for the first time, in the US and across the globe.”
The push for more geothermal is heating up, as countries and companies realise it offers the potential for virtually unlimited low-carbon energy. Recent innovations in geothermal technology that Springwise has spotted include an affordable residential geothermal heating and cooling technology, and a system that can tap into geothermal energy from virtually anywhere.
Written By: Lisa Magloff