Fervo Energy makes a significant breakthrough in geothermal energy development

Fervo has successfully completed the well test at its full-scale commercial pilot, Project Red, in northern Nevada. Fervo’s successful well test validates the commercial viability of their drilling technology, establishing Project Red as the most productive enhanced geothermal system in history.

During the 30-day well test, Fervo achieved a remarkable flow rate of 63 litres per second at high temperature, enabling 3.5 MW of electric production. This achievement sets new records for both flow and power output from an enhanced geothermal system.

Fervo became the first company to drill a horizontal well pair for commercial geothermal production, boasting impressive lateral lengths of 3,250 feet and reaching a temperature of 191 °C. Rigorous tracer testing demonstrated controlled flow, affirming the success of their drilling technology. Moreover, Fervo adhered to induced seismicity mitigation protocols based on best practises established by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), ensuring a safe and incident-free project completion.

The valuable data collected during this pilot project will accelerate advancements in geothermal deployment. Fervo’s next horizontal well pair aims to achieve more than double the power output of the pilot design, indicating a promising future for sustainable and high-efficiency geothermal energy solutions.

“By applying drilling technology from the oil and gas industry, we have proven that we can produce 24/7 carbon-free energy resources in new geographies across the world. The incredible results we share today are the product of many years of dedicated work and commitment from Fervo employees and industry partners, especially Google,” said Tim Latimer, Fervo Energy CEO and Co-Founder.

In 2021, Fervo and Google signed the world’s first corporate agreement to develop next-generation geothermal power. The goal of the partnership is to power Google’s Cloud region in Las Vegas with an always-on, carbon-free resource that will reduce the company’s hourly reliance on fossil fuels.

“Achieving our goal of operating on 24/7 carbon-free energy will require new sources of firm, clean power to complement variable renewables like wind and solar,” said Michael Terrell, Senior Director for Energy and Climate, Google. “We partnered with Fervo in 2021 because we see significant potential for their geothermal technology to unlock a critical source of 24/7 carbon-free energy at scale, and we are thrilled to see Fervo reach this important technical milestone.”

Fervo’s results from Project Red support the findings of the DOE Enhanced Geothermal Earthshot and show that geothermal energy could supply over 20% of U.S. power needs and compliment wind and solar to reach a fully decarbonised grid.

Jesse Jenkins, Assistant Professor and leader of the Zero-carbon Energy systems Research and Optimisation (ZERO) lab at Princeton University, said, “Power systems modelling confirms that geothermal can be a critical player in a fully decarbonised grid. Fervo’s successful commercial pilot takes next-generation geothermal technology from the realm of models into the real world and starts us on a path to unlock geothermal’s full potential.”

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