U.S. supermajor Chevron said it set up a joint venture to examine the potential for geothermal energy at a site in Nevada. File photo by Mohammad Kheirkhah/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Exploring the capacity of geothermal energy in Nevada will build on progress made to develop commercial-scale opportunities for a cleaner future, U.S. supermajor Chevron said Wednesday.
Chevron's clean energy arm, Chevron New Energies, established a joint venture with Baseload Capital, which targets geothermal projects specifically, to develop the technology in the United States.
"The two companies will collaborate on driving geothermal opportunities -- including identifying the best prospects for development, operations and progressing the next generation of geothermal technologies from pilot to commercial scale," they said in a joint statement.
A report from the non-profit Clean Air Task Force found that geothermal resources in the form of superhot rocks deep below the surface could generate enough steam for power generation and prove to be far more efficient than similar technology already in use.
Using this type of system would see water injected at depths sufficient enough to find rock temperatures greater than 750 degrees F. The steam that would come from that would be pumped back to the surface to drive a generator
A test program in Iceland is churning out at least five times as much energy as conventional geothermal power, and researchers at the Clean Air Task Force estimate the cost for a rock-based system already is competitive with natural gas.
Chevron and Baseload Capital have identified a location in Nevada to explore further opportunities at a site that's already proved to have some potential.
"We believe that to make the geothermal ecosystem a reality, we must take these important steps through collaboration and partnership, and this example with Baseload Capital is a great start toward pursuing our lower carbon goals for the future," said Barbara Harrison, a vice president at Chevron New Energies.
Less than 2% of the world's total energy comes from geothermal resources, though scientists suspect it could be a near-inexhaustible source of energy. The Clean Air Task Force estimates it could be put to commercial use as early as the 2030s.