Fervo Energy claims breakthrough in geothermal energy with successful well test

Fervo Energy claims breakthrough in geothermal energy with successful well test

Fervo Energy announced that it has successfully completed the well test at its full-scale commercial geothermal pilot, Project Red, in northern Nevada.

Fervo says the successful well test confirms the commercial viability of its drilling technology. The 30-day well test, a standard for geothermal, achieved a flowrate of 63 liters per second at high temperature that enables 3.5 MW of electric production, which Fervo says sets new records for both flow and power output from an enhanced geothermal system.

Fervo Energy launched in 2017, intending to use horizontal drilling technology and multi-stage well completion to scale geothermal power generation development. The company would also incorporate modern data sets, like distributed fiber optic sensing, which weren’t previously used in the geothermal industry.

Fervo was able to successfully drill a horizontal well pair for commercial geothermal production, achieving lateral lengths of 3,250 feet, reaching a temperature of 191 °C, and proving controlled flow through tracer testing. Fervo implemented an induced seismicity mitigation protocol following best practices established by the U.S. Department of Energy and completed the project without incident, the company said. Data collected through the course of this pilot will be used for advancement in geothermal deployment, with Fervo’s estimating its next horizontal well pair will achieve more than double the power output of the pilot design.

“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,” said Tim Latimer, Fervo Energy CEO and Co-Founder. Latimer previously appeared on Renewable Energy World’s Texas Power Podcast, where he discussed Fervo’s oil and gas-inspired approach to geothermal energy.

Fervo Energy co-founder and CEO Tim Latimer joined the Texas Power Podcast with Doug Lewin to discuss a hoped-for resurgence in the geothermal energy industry. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

In 2021, Fervo and Google signed a corporate agreement to develop next-generation geothermal power. The goal of the partnership is to power Google’s Cloud region in Las Vegas with an “always-on,” carbon-free resource that will reduce the company’s hourly reliance on fossil fuels.

Fervo says its results from Project Red support the findings of the DOE Enhanced Geothermal Earthshot and show that geothermal energy could supply over 20% of U.S. power needs and complement wind and solar to reach a fully decarbonized grid.

This summer, Fervo broke ground on its first greenfield development in southwest Utah, adjacent to the DOE’s Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE). Revenue and learnings from Fervo’s Utah project will go toward the development of other projects in new geographies.