Empowering geothermal energy
Fervo Energy is developing technology for power generation from enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) that can deliver electricity at a cost of 5 to 7 cents per kilowatt hour. Fervo's design incorporates proven, cost-effective technologies from other fields, such as horizontal drilling, to unlock the potential of geothermal energy.
Tim Latimer worked as a completion engineer at McClure Geomechanics and as a consultant in Boston Consulting Group’s energy practice while pursuing his joint M.B.A./M.S. in environment and resources at Stanford University. Prior to that, he worked as a drilling and completion engineer for BHP Billiton’s U.S. onshore shale operation, where he held both engineering and field operations roles. Latimer holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Tulsa and is a proud native of Texas.
Jack Norbeck was recently awarded a Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellowship to perform research with the Induced Seismicity Project at the US Geological Survey. His experience includes working as a reservoir engineer at The Geysers geothermal field, working as a completion engineer at Shell, designing well tests for the Raft River EGS project with Idaho National Laboratory, and collaborating as a visiting scholar with the Geothermal Institute at University of Auckland. Norbeck holds a Ph.D. in energy resources engineering from Stanford University, a M.S. in civil engineering from Colorado School of Mines, and a B.S. in civil engineering from University of Colorado at Boulder.
The pair founded Fervo Energy in 2017 to develop innovative EGS projects by leveraging advances in drilling techniques and a new understanding of subsurface reservoir geomechanics. Learn more about what led them to Cyclotron Road in this Backstories episode.
Geothermal energy is a massive, mostly untapped resource for clean energy production. The United States currently has 3.7 gigawatts of geothermal capacity that provide approximately 0.4 percent of the nation’s electricity. But clean, always-on electricity from geothermal reservoirs has the potential to produce over 100 gigawatts (GW) of electricity in the United States alone.
Previous developments of enhanced geothermal systems have primarily relied on designs utilizing vertical wells, single zone completions, and shear stimulation conceptual models, but have produced lower flowrates than required for commercial viability. Fervo Energy's approach can overcome these technical challenges and unlock the 100 GW potential for clean geothermal energy production in the United States.
Through its novel and cost-effective reservoir engineering design, Fervo Energy will develop enhanced geothermal systems that produce high flow rate wells, tap into large accessible reservoir volumes, and operate in a wide variety of geologic settings. We will first apply these techniques toward increasing production through in-field or nearfield expansion at existing geothermal facilities. This could boost U.S. geothermal production by nearly 30 percent.
Fervo Energy's technology is based on a new understanding of mixed mechanism stimulation (MMS), a geomechanical process that can be leveraged, if designed for properly, to enhance the permeability of geothermal reservoirs. Researchers at Stanford University recently identified evidence for MMS behavior at several EGS sites and have validated the concept through advanced geomechanical simulations. Our MMS-based engineering designs provide the critical innovation necessary to achieve efficient heat mining with commercially viable flow rates.
Potential for Impact
In the U.S., successful commercialization of enhanced geothermal systems would add at least 100 GW of electric power generation by 2050. This represents a $300 billion market opportunity that could reduce US power sector emissions by 500 million tons of CO2 equivalent per year.
Fervo Energy is Looking for...
Team members - scientist, engineers, interns
tim [at] fervoenergy [dot] com
TomKat Center innovation grant
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