Startup claims breakthrough in turning the earth’s heat into clean power

Fervo Energy, an enhanced geothermal company, says its pilot site in Nevada shows it’s possible to produce ​“24/7 carbon-free energy” in new geographies.

18 July 2023
Fervo Energy, a leading geothermal energy startup, says it achieved a technology breakthrough that could eventually accelerate the push to pull up carbon-free energy from deep down in the earth.

On Tuesday, Fervo said it had successfully completed a full-scale well test that confirms the commercial viability of its next-generation technology. The Houston-based startup uses horizontal drilling techniques and fiber-optic sensing tools to access geothermal resources that are otherwise too expensive or technically complex to reach using existing methods.

During a 30-day test period, Fervo showed that its Project Red site in northern Nevada is capable of generating 3.5 megawatts of electricity. While that’s only enough to power roughly 2,600 U.S. homes at once, it’s still more electricity than any of the world’s 40-some ​“enhanced geothermal systems” have previously achieved, according to the company.


If we bore the hell out of the earth where is the planet for generations some 300 years from now? Are there more earthquakes? Does the heat run out? Not a silly question.

I get it is the mantel and not beyond but that is our thermal insulation cover. Future generations can pay a huge unexpected price.

Just like we can drill all the oil we want. That is not how we see it now 100 years later.

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The center of the earth is made of molten iron. There must be lots of heat down there. The numbers have to be huge.

But I thought geothermal heat around the ring of fire with volcanoes and earth quakes comes mostly from friction. From the earth plates rubbing against each other. I would assume that is mostly driven by gravity maybe with some influence from the attraction of the moon.

Gravity is the natural attraction between masses. What is its energy source?

“Mass” attraction = gravity.

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So far we have tapped into water, oil and natgas deeper down in the mantel.

How much breaking up of the crust can we do?


The earths mantle begins 25 miles below the surface. The deepest borehole so far is approximately 7.69 miles deep, less than one third of the way to the mantle. Temperature differentials sufficient for power production occur at different depths depending on geology, but generally less than 12000 feet, far from the mantle.




Thanks for filling me in.

That makes it far less of a problem.

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Read all about it:

About half of the internal heat actually comes from the radioactive decay of elements such as uranium and thorium. The other half is left over heat from the initial formation of the planet. Initially, the Earth was molten. The outer shell cooled and solidified, but the heat inside remained. Some of that heat escapes through volcanoes, etc, and just simple conduction.

But a significant portion of the heat is from radioactive decay. About 15 years ago, I read several articles on the internet, speculating about an active natural fission reactor in the core of the Earth. It is an interesting theory, but I believe still just a theory.


According to Einstein gravity is not a force but the manifestation of the curvature of space. Sounds like the manifestation of quantum stuff which, according to Richard Feynman, no one understands.

Cooling Gaia by using geothermal energy is equivalent to emptying the oceans by sucking water through a soda-pop straw. :crazy_face:

BTW, the drilling is nowhere near the depth of the attempts at the Mariana trench.

I read about natural fission on the surface somewhere in Africa.

Nuclear fission chain reactions occur in nature. In 1972, scientists at the French Atomic Energy Establishment at Pierrelatte discovered the nearly intact remains of a natural nuclear fission reactor in a 0.5-m-thick seam of uranium ore located at Oklo, in the Republic of Gabon (7).,Republic%20of%20Gabon%20(7)

The Captain


think I am more hopeful for nuclear fusion to become mainstream. That would power inter-stellar travels.

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Somewhat similar to a question I have asked before. Wind power by definition removes energy from “the wind”. Likewise solar power takes power from the sun which would ordinarily be absorbed by the ground and moves it elsewhere.

While surely the amount today is too small to matter, at some future point (should these technologies be developed and mounted on a world wide scale) do we not run the risk of altering the planets’ weather patterns - and therefore the climate - in ways which are unknowable. We may be transferring huge amounts of energy from one geography to another, or from one energy state to another before we can understand the implications of doing so.

The only thing to do is to go back and live in caves, allowing the planet to change the weather as it sees fit, in which case we will probably die anyway.

Turn up the air conditioning, will ya? It’s a little hot here today.

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There will be more wind created. However, wind turbines, particularly en masse, reduce the energy production of their downwind neighbors. This wake effect has been observed up to 45 km (28 miles) and longer offshore. In the US 90% of wind farms are located within 40 km of another facility.

Lundquist et al. modeled the energy reductions and studies a test case in Texas. They write “In our Texas case study, the downwind wind farm suffered an estimated generation loss of roughly 5% from Nov 2009 to Dec 2015.”



Is this the article you meant to link to?

Well that is the issue we are faced with currently after 200 years of using fossil fuels which have been altering our climate in ways which were not understood, then ignored and obfuscated, and now panic because of climate change.

But I do not see wind or solar energy having much effect on our climate except to make massive improvements to our climate . Wind energy and solar energy are converted to electrical energy which is used to do many things that used to be done with fossil fuels.

Wind turbines convert about 30-50 % of wind energy into electricity. The rest of the energy is left in the wind field.

Solar panels convert about 20-25 % of solar energy into electricity with the remainder of solar energy converted to heating the solar panel structures which partially conducted into the ground and is the rest is released by convection to the air.


I would think that panels installed on the roofs of buildings would be an easy net-benefit. Part of the energy that would have gone into heating the building is now blocked, and turned into electricity, in order to cool the building that is now also not as hot as before. Panels installed in fields would not have that benefit.

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And, of course, the wind doesn’t blow all of the time.


I don’t think that’s true. They may convert that much into electricity, but there is a lot that is thrown off in friction, heat, and inefficiency in the generation stage. Virtually all that is “sucked out” is gone from “wind energy.”

I know this is a fruitless exercise, but pretend for a moment that you could pull 50% of the wind energy out of a particular area. Don’t you think that would change the weather downstream? Moisture wouldn’t be blown as far, clouds would form differently, perhaps tornados wouldn’t form or whatever. The Rockies create a “moisture desert” as wind hits them and is directed upwards, why wouldn’t pulling wind energy have the same effect.

Of course 50% is a ludicrous number given the height of wind turbines and compared to the height of the atmosphere, but then I’m sure people said “Oh sure, let’s burn all the oil, what could possibly go wrong? Earth is big!”

Anyway, I believe there’s no free lunch. The effects of converting wind energy and solar energy in mass quantities may still be much too small to cause anything worth worrying about, then again, the flap of a butterfly’s wings…

Analogous to Goodwin’s law, the longer the thread about renewables of any type continues in METAR, the greater the certainty that someone will point out that the wind doesn’t blow all the time. A few years back, I calculated that 20% of posts in a single thread contained some variation of “the wind doesn’t blow all the time.”

I call this phenomenon “telegraph’s law.”


One effect that has been measured with wind farms is that at night they tend to mix warmer air aloft with cooler air near the surface, which can lead to a small but measurable increase in average near-surface temperatures over time.