Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Fervo Energy to develop integrated geothermal and direct air capture facility

Fervo Energy announced on February 23 that it will design and engineer a fully integrated geothermal and direct air capture (DAC) facility with support from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI).

Direct air capture (DAC) technology may be essential in helping the world in the fight against climate change. It captures CO2 directly from the air and then sequesters the extracted carbon underground.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, limiting warming to 1.5 degrees C will require the net removal of 100-1000 gigatons of carbon dioxide by 2100. This creates significant demand for carbon removal solutions, including DAC solutions and associated clean, reliable power.

In a direct air capture facility, large fans move air over materials that capture carbon dioxide. This captured carbon dioxide is heated, concentrated, and then, in most cases, pumped underground. To operate economically and sustainably, DAC requires a reliable source of carbon-free electricity and heat.

Fervo’s designs for a combined geothermal and direct air capture facility can provide an innovative solution to these challenges that will lower the cost of carbon removal.

“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. “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.”

In pioneering next-generation geothermal technology, Fervo has adapted existing innovations, such as horizontal drilling and distributed fiber optic sensing, to combat climate change by turning hot rock reservoirs beneath the earth’s surface into economically viable sources of clean energy.

The new funding helps Fervo leverage geothermal resources to provide 24/7 carbon-free power and heat to DAC systems and explore geothermal reservoirs’ potential for local subsurface carbon sequestration. This funding builds on CZI’s support for organizations that are advancing promising climate change solutions, including carbon dioxide removal.

“Carbon removal technologies are a critical tool for addressing climate change,” said CZI Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Caitlyn Fox. “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.”