Skip to main content

Houston Energy Startup Achieves Geothermal Breakthrough

Published Jul 18, 2023 by Ernesto Becerra

Houston Based Fervo Energy

Houston-based startup Fervo Energy has made a significant breakthrough in geothermal technology, marking a major milestone for carbon-free energy sources.

The company announced it successfully completed a performance demonstration of its commercial pilot at the Project Red site in northern Nevada, showcasing the potential of enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) on a large-scale commercial level.

During the full-scale, 30-day well test, Fervo, a member of the Greater Houston Partnership, generated 3.5 megawatts of electricity, equivalent to powering approximately 2,625 homes simultaneously. The successful pilot project is part of a collaboration between Fervo and Google, aiming to provide power to Google's data centers and infrastructure in Nevada.

Geothermal power plants, known for their carbon-free operation and availability around the clock, play a crucial role in achieving a 100% carbon-free electric grid. Fervo's enhanced geothermal system expands the range of sites suitable for geothermal energy extraction, fulfilling a long-standing goal of the renewable energy industry.

Tim Latimer, CEO and co-founder of Fervo, emphasized the significance of this achievement, stating that the technology has surpassed expectations and is a resource for today rather than the distant future. Geothermal energy has the potential to be a key player in decarbonizing the power grid, especially during periods when other renewable sources like wind and solar are unavailable.

“By applying drilling technology from the oil and gas industry, we have proven that we can produce 24/7 carbon-free energy resources in new geographies across the world,” Latimer said.

The test aligns with the findings of the Department of Energy's Enhanced Geothermal Earthshot initiative, which aims to demonstrate the potential of geothermal energy to supply over 20% of U.S. power needs and complement wind and solar power in achieving a fully decarbonized grid, removing technological barriers and propels geothermal deployment ahead of schedule.

"This groundbreaking achievement by Fervo Energy not only solidifies Houston's role as a leader in the energy transition but also propels the advancement of geothermal technology towards a more sustainable future," said Jane Stricker, Executive Director of the Partnership’s Houston Energy Transition Initiative (HETI).

Fervo Energy aims to replicate its success at its southwest Utah site, currently under construction. With design improvements, the Utah site is expected to generate approximately 400 megawatts by 2028, enough to power around 300,000 homes simultaneously.

Learn more about the Houston Energy Transition Initiative.

Related News

Aerospace & Aviation

Hydrogen Fuel Experiment to Take Off at IAH

George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) has been chosen as one of the five North American locations where Airbus will study the feasibility of creating a hydrogen hub.   The European multinational aerospace corporation is partnering with the Center for Houston’s Future (CHF) and Houston Airport System to examine the viability of equipping airports with the infrastructure to support hydrogen fuel for aircraft. The analysis, expected to conclude in March 2025, will focus on identifying potential opportunities and barriers to hydrogen usage at airports, as well as defining the requirements for an ‘end-to-end' hydrogen supply chain, as Airbus works to achieve its goal of having hydrogen commercial aircraft operational and carrying passengers by 2035.  “Building airplanes which run on clean hydrogen may take some time, but we can begin today by looking at how we can use clean hydrogen in airport operations, such as ground equipment and public transportation so we can be ready for the future,” CHF CEO Brett Perlman said.  The airline industry is increasingly investing in sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), an alternative fuel made from non-petroleum feedstocks that reduces emissions from air transportation to reach net zero carbon goals.  According to the U.S. Department of Energy, aviation accounts for 2 percent of all carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and 12 percent of all CO2 emissions from transportation worldwide. This collaborative effort can help accelerate SAF technology and adoption.  “As we continue to expand and modernize our facilities, participating in this sustainability study is crucial,” said Jim Szczesniak, Aviation Director for the City of Houston. “Continuing to build a sustainable airport system will ensure a healthy future for Houston, attract top talent and businesses, and demonstrate our commitment to being a responsible global citizen.”  The Airbus announcement follows the recent creation of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Coalition, a nonprofit made up of key airlines, manufacturers and trade groups to advance the development of low-carbon fuels and decrease emissions in the industry. The organization will also advocate for federal policies that support the creation of a robust domestic market with lower prices and higher supply. Coalition members with a strong Houston presence include United Airlines, the Boeing Company and Sumitomo Corporation of Americas.  Other SAF developments include an agreement between United and Cemvita Corporation, a Houston-based cleantech startup focused on applying synthetic biology to enable a sustainable energy transition, to supply the airline with up to one billion gallons of sustainable aviation fuel from their first full-scale SAF plant over the next twenty years.   Learn how the Energy Capital of the World is leading the energy transition to a low-carbon, energy-abundant future. 
Read More

BP Donates $200K to Houston Community College for EV Safety Training

Demonstrating its continued commitment to advancing the energy transition and bolstering the region’s workforce, BP donated $200,000 to Houston Community College (HCC) to fund an electrical vehicle safety and mechanic training course for City of Houston and Harris County employees. The initiative underscores the international company’s commitment to sustainability and aims to equip local technicians with the specialized skills needed for the future of transportation.  The program aims to train more than 250 fleet department employees this year by providing safety knowledge for handling EVs and advanced training on repairs and maintenance.  “We embrace Houston's role as the energy capital of the world and we continue to support the city and the county and their efforts to advance the energy transition,” Mark Crawford, Sr. Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at bp, said during a check presentation at an HCC Board of Trustees meeting. “We are excited for the year ahead and many technicians who will depart HCC campus with a certificate in hand and new knowledge to utilize.”  Click to expand bp check presentation to HCC to fund EV safety training   In 2020, the City of Houston released its Climate Action Plan which included converting non-emergency, light-duty municipal vehicles to electric by 2030. Harris County has a similar goal to transition its fleet to electric vehicles.  HCC’s Northeast College President Michael Edwards applauded bp’s investment and commitment to strengthening communities, creating sustainable jobs and advancing the transition.   “bp America seeks to work with partners to develop initiatives for the area's most impacted by the energy transition and enable the workforce to gain the skills needed for future energy systems,” said Michael Edwards, PhD, President of HCC’s Northeast College Campus.    Earlier this year, bp launched its first U.S. EV charging station, bp Pulse, at the company’s Energy Corridor headquarters. The station, offering 24 high-speed EV charge points, is part of bp’s plan to invest $1 billion in EV charging infrastructure by 2030.  Learn more about Houston's energy industry.
Read More

Related Events

Economic Development

Future of Global Energy Conference Presented by Shell USA, Inc.

The Greater Houston Partnership, Houston Energy Transition Initiative (HETI) and the Center for Houston's Future invite you to the annual Future of Global Energy presented by Shell USA, Inc. …

Learn More
Learn More
Executive Partners