Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Quaise raises funds for terawatt-scale deep geothermal energy

Quaise Energy, a spin-off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), announced the closing of a $21 Million Series A1 financing round led by Prelude Ventures and Safar Partners. The company will use the funding to accelerate terawatt-scale geothermal energy, expand field operations, and strengthen the supply chain toward global clean energy abundance.

Deep geothermal energy has emerged as a promising solution to meet the global energy transition at scale. It offers the potential to create more energy with fewer resources than conventional geothermal sources, providing 24/7 baseload power and unlocking access to clean energy on a relatively small land footprint. This could be a significant step towards a sustainable future.

“The world needs more than ever before, game-changing technologies that can deliver abundant carbon-free heat and power to become carbon neutral by 2050. We believe deep geothermal has great potential to become one of these technologies,” said Toshiaki Nobuhara, General Manager, International Utility Dept. of Mitsubishi Corporation. “We are honored and excited to join Quaise in its journey to make deep geothermal a reality.”

Quaise plans to generate terawatt-scale energy using deep geothermal energy. They aim to achieve this by vaporizing rocks in the Earth’s core using high-power microwaves in the millimeter range. The company believes they can deliver carbon-free energy using just one percent of land compared to other renewable energy technologies.

Quaise is using MIT’s expertise in developing lasers for nuclear fusion experiments and repurposing them to drill through rocks. According to a press release, the high-power microwaves used for heating plasma in these experiments will be used to vaporize rocks.

They have been researching this technique for over a decade at MIT and have now scaled it up 100 times. Field demonstrations are set to begin later this year.

“The world needs vast amounts of carbon-free primary energy to transition away from fossil fuels,” said Mark Cupta, Managing Director at Prelude Ventures. “Quaise is creating a truly scalable solution that enables nearly any piece of land on Earth to yield abundant clean energy.”

The new funding is being used to improve geologic understanding at pilot plant locations. Quaise will be conducting magnetic and seismic surveys, among other tests, to identify the most advantageous areas for initial drilling. This data will inform the company where to place the first commercial pilots.

Apart from this, the other target of the funding is to strengthen the supply chain for the company’s unique drilling technology. Quaise is entering joint development and licensing agreements with manufacturers to ensure future equipment will meet design and capacity requirements as the company scales its operations beyond the first pilots.

“Our mission is to create the most sustainable and prosperous energy future for all,” said Carlos Araque, CEO and co-founder of Quaise Energy. “By accelerating our field operations and securing our supply chain, we are preparing deep geothermal to be the indispensable energy of the 21st century.”

Their ultimate goal is to generate power using deep geothermal technology on-site and take over existing coal-fired plants to reduce expenditure.