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Google Goes Underground

by Rachel Levitt

Tags: Science and Technology, ecology, geothermal energy, geothermal drilling, alternative energy, enhanced Geothermal Systems, EGS, REC, Google.org, CNet News,

US Geothermal Map

Back in November, Google.org (Google's philanthropic branch) announced it was launching a massive effort to support renewable energy. On Tuesday the company reached a milestone in their endeavor by earmarking $10 million for the research and development of geothermal energy, specifically that of Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS). The official Google.org blog post explains EGS as expanding “the potential of traditional geothermal energy by orders of magnitude. The traditional geothermal approach relies on finding naturally occurring pockets of steam or hot water. The EGS process, by comparison, replicates these conditions by fracturing hot rock, circulating water through the system, and using the resulting steam to produce electricity in a conventional turbine.”

The money will go to AltaRock Energy and Potter Drilling, two startup EGS companies, and will fund a research grant for Southern Methodist University to study and map US geothermal distribution. The effort is a part of the company’s REinitiative, a project geared towards reducing the cost of renewable energy to less than that of coal.

(Thanks, CNET News.)