U.S. geothermal energy firm Fervo Energy has announced plans to design and engineer an integrated geothermal and direct air capture (DAC) facility with support from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI).
A DAC facility utilizes large fans to circulate air over materials that capture carbon dioxide (CO2). The captured CO2 is concentrated and heated, and then, in many cases, pumped underground.
In order to function in a cost-efficient and environmentally friendly way, DAC requires a consistent supply of electricity and heat that is free of carbon. Fervo says its concept for a facility that combines geothermal and DAC presents an innovative solution to these challenges, resulting in a decrease in 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.”
This proposed project by Fervo does not have a site name, location or timeline yet. EnergyTech has reached out to the company, but no response had come by the time of this posting.
The company notes that it has adapted existing innovations, such as distributed fiber optic sensing and horizontal drilling, to turn reservoirs of hot rock beneath the earth’s surface into economically viable sources of clean energy.
The new funding from CZI is expected to help Fervo leverage geothermal resources to provide continuous carbon-free power and heat to DAC systems and explore the potential of geothermal reservoirs for local subsurface carbon sequestration.
“In order to scale carbon removal, costs need to come down dramatically,” said Caitlyn Fox, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at CZI. “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.”
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius will require the removal of 100-1000 gigatons of CO2 by 2100, creating a significant demand for carbon removal solutions, including DAC solutions and associated clean, reliable power.
Founded in 2015, CZI aims to help solve some of society’s toughest challenges — from eradicating disease and improving education to addressing the needs of the communities. It is owned by Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan.