The founder of Quaise Energy claims that the overall energy content of the heat stored below exceeds our planet’s annual energy requirement by a factor of a billion, as reported by the Independent.
According to its designers, a machine that can dig the deepest hole in the world would be able to liberate enough renewable energy to power the entire planet.
In order to access “inexhaustible renewable energy” from geothermal heat in the crust, a US-based company called Quaise Energy is creating a drilling rig that it believes will travel 16 kilometres (10 miles) below the surface of the Earth.
According to Matt Houde, co-founder of Quaise Energy, who spoke at TedX Boston last week, “the entire energy content of the heat trapped beneath exceeds our annual energy consumption as a planet by a factor of a billion.”
For the foreseeable future, “harnessing a fraction of that is more than adequate to meet our energy needs.”
The Kola borehole in the Arctic Circle currently holds the title of the deepest hole in the world with a depth of 12.2 kilometres. Drilling took the USSR more than two decades, but after the Soviet Union fell, it was stopped.
Because it is so difficult to dig at those depths, it has been impossible to harness deep geothermal energy on a large scale.
Traditional drill bits are replaced by millimetre wave energy by Quaise Energy, which melts and vaporises the tougher rocks it encounters after drilling through the softer rock closer to the surface.
The method was created by MIT researchers 15 years ago, and it is now prepared to be used outside of the lab.
Before record depths can be attained, a number of challenges must be overcome, chief among them the difficulty of extracting the ash from the borehole after the rock has been vaporised.
The first holes will be drilled in the field, according to our existing strategy, “Houde remarked.
And even as technology develops to enable deeper drilling, “we will also investigate our first commercial geothermal projects in shallower settings.”
If Quaise Energy is successful, every nation on Earth might eventually achieve energy independence. To date, the company has raised more than 63 million dollars in an effort to market the technology.
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