February 27, 2013

Greentechmedia

Enhanced Geothermal Systems Technology Advances

“The total potential is enough to power the electric grid many times over.”

AltaRock Energy, backed by Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), Kleiner Perkins, Khosla Ventures and Vulcan Capital, has made some breakthroughs in Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) development in the last few months.

First, a carefully controlled, high pressure, cold water hydroshearing process late last year at the Newberry Geothermal Project in Bend, Oregon, cracked hot rock at 500 meters while producing only microseismic events. This suggested the EGS process, which was put on hold in 2010 because of concern that deep probing at California and Swiss projects was causing earthquakes, is manageable.

Early this year, AltaRock advanced control of the process further. It injected recycled plastic into fractured rock at the Newberry site, sealing off separated reservoirs, and continued fracking them individually.

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