Quaise Energy, the U.S based company is developing a drilling rig designed to reach 16 kilometers (10 miles) underground, seeking to unlock geothermal energy on a global scale, with its millimeter wave drill technology. Quaise could unlock enough geothermal energy with its deepest digger.
According to the creators at Quaise Energy, potentially enough renewable energy could be unlocked that could power the entire planet. It is possible with a machine that is capable of digging the deepest hole in the world. Clean energy from the geothermal heat in the crust can be harnessed through a 10 miles-deep hole.
Matthew Houde, co-founder of Quaise Energy at TEDx in Boston, told, “The total energy content of heat stored underground exceeds our annual energy demand by a factor of a billion. Trapping a fraction of this is more than enough to meet our energy needs for the foreseeable future. With the success of this technology, any country on Earth could potentially become energy independent. This technology is real and has been proven in an MIT research lab and the company is using it to blast rock with microwaves to potentially drill the deepest holes on Earth”.
Currently, the deepest hole in the world is the Kola Superdeep Borehole, 12.2 kilometers (7.58 miles) in Murmansk Oblast, Russia. It took the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) more than 2 decades to drill the hole that was abandoned after the Soviet Union collapsed.
Matthew Houde said, “And the truth is, we’ll need hundreds if not thousands of Kola boreholes if we want to scale geothermal to the capacity that’s needed.” “Harnessing geothermal energy has been difficult up till now because of the difficulties and time taken in drilling and digging such deep holes that can reach up to required depth. To overcome this, once boring through soft rocks near surface, The Company replaces conventional drill bits with millimeter wave energy to melt and drill deeper into the rocks”.
There are several obstacles before reaching the record depth, most notably the one to remove ash from the borehole after the rock has vaporized. Matthew Houde, said, “Our current plan is to drill the first hole in the field in the next few years. And as we continue to advance the technology to drill deeper, we will also explore our first commercial geothermal projects in shallower settings.”
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“Millimeters waves are ideal for the hard, hot, crystalline rock deep down that conventional drilling struggles with. They are not as efficient in the softer rock closer to the surface, but those are the same formations that conventional drilling excels at. Hence, the company combines both approaches to be more efficient. If we can get to ten miles down, we can start to find economic temperatures everywhere. And if we go even deeper, we can get to temperatures where water becomes supercritical, a steam-like phase that will allow a step change improvement in the power production per well, and so cheapen the cost of energy,” Matthew Houde further added. Thus, Quaise could unlock enough geothermal energy with its deepest digger in upcoming years.