Hijacked fusion technology to being used to drill the deepest holes in history, with the aim of unlocking clean, virtually limitless, geothermal energy. Geothermal is a rare and totally reliable, green power generation - because when the sun stops shining, and the wind stops blowing, the earth’s rock is always hot, and the hot reservoirs within the earth are naturally replenished, making it both renewable and sustainable.
According to Paul Woskov, a senior research engineer, tapping just 0.1 percent could supply the entire world's energy needs for more than 20 million years. Now wouldn’t that be something?! The problem however is access. The iron centre of the earth’s core is around 5,200°C and located between 5-75km below the earth's surface. So getter to this virtually limitless energy source will be a different feat entirely. But that is what Quaise, the MIT spinoff, plan to do. They have raised funding to dig the deepest hole in history in the hope of unlocking the earth’s most abundant clean energy source.
One of the reasons why geothermal energy is receiving much attention is because the carbon footprint of a geothermal power plant is low. While there is some pollution associated with geothermal energy (like the greenhouse gases released from under the Earth’s surface as a result of drilling), this is relatively minimal when compared to other energy sources. Plus, it is much easier to predict the power output from a geothermal plant with a high degree of accuracy. This is because the energy generated from this resource does not fluctuate in the same way as other green energy sources, such as solar power and energy produced by wind farms.
But as with all things, it’s not plain sailing. The largest disadvantage of geothermal energy is that it is location specific. Geothermal plants need to be built in places where the energy is accessible, which means that some areas are not able to exploit this resource. And of course, there are risks of triggering earthquakes, and the high cost associated with tapping this energy source.
That all being said, where subterranean heat sources naturally appear, are close to the earth’s surface, easy to reach and or course near to a power grid for economically viable transmission, geothermal is a great green power generation. But for now, these situations are currently few and far between, hence geothermal currently supplies only around 0.3 percent of global energy.
While most climate change activities are focused on limiting emissions from the automotive, aviation and energy sectors, it’s the communications industry that is on track to generate more carbon emissions than all of the aforementioned sectors.