Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo


Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

{ action.text }

The company has completed 3-D modeling and is doing early validation and commercial feasibility testing with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). Demonstration projects could begin as early as 2012.

Luis Cerezo, a technical executive within EPRI’s renewable generation program, says there is significant potential to use GTherm’s single-well design in areas that have been off-limits to geothermal development. “We’re looking at depths of about five kilometers with down-the-hole temperatures of between 250 °F and 300 °F,” says Cerezo. “With this, we’re aiming to produce one megawatt net from each well.”

One megawatt isn’t much, but GTherm envisions a more distributed and scalable model of geothermal generation—from installations of a few megawatts to large clusters of wells totaling hundreds of megawatts.

Thousands of depleted oil and gas wells across the United States and Canada are prime candidates for development, Parrella says. Temperature data is already known in these fields, significantly reducing exploration costs. Parrella is convinced GTherm can deliver clean power for less than 10 cents per kilowatt-hour.

“The approach is definitely beneficial,” says Einstein. But he questions whether GTherm has truly eliminated the risk of triggering seismic events. “The grout must be a viscous liquid before it hardens, so I don’t see why putting it in the well wouldn’t cause similar (seismic) problems. So they’ll have to show it actually works.”

6 comments. Share your thoughts »

Tagged: Energy, energy, renewable energy, geothermal, alternative energy, geo-engineering

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives


Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me