Quaise says it wants to dig into the center of the Earth to tap into geothermal energy, bringing it to large populations around the world. (Image Credit: Quaise/YouTube)
Isn’t this the plot point of countless giant monster/ancient evil movies?
Quaise, an energy company founded in 2020, has set out ambitious plans to make the largest hole ever in the Earth’s crust for where potentially useful heat resides. Tapping into this heat would allow the startup to bring geothermal power, a long-forgotten renewable energy source, to the masses. The company hopes to achieve this by using its pioneer drilling techniques and a megawatt-power gyrotron.
After the first venture round capital funding closed, the MIT spinoff managed to raise $63 million, which could make geothermal energy accessible for many around the world. The company said it wants to dig down to the Earth’s center, where rock temperatures reach approximately 932 °F. So far, humans have managed to dig a 12,289 m depth hole, a process that took 20 years to complete. Comparatively, it only takes Quaise to drill 12.4 miles in 100 days.
The company also plans to develop technology that burns holes in the Earth’s crust to help reach record depths. Digging even deeper requires techniques that involve grinding material cramped together by overhead rock, which would then be carried up to the surface. Plus, digging equipment must grind rock where temperatures exceed 356 °F. Another solution for this scenario could involve less drilling and more burning.
Quaise’s technology relies on using millimeter-long waves of electromagnetic radiation, which melts atoms together. The attached gyrotron emits steady beams of electromagnetic radiation via powerful magnetic fields that shake electrons at high speeds. With this implementation on its drilling rig, the company can expect to penetrate through the sturdiest, hottest rock at 12.4 miles deep in just a few months. The rock is hot enough to turn liquid water into a supercritical state ideal for electricity generation.
Quaise also plans to use its seed and investment funds to deploy proof-of-concept field devices with this technology in approximately two years. If successful, the system could work to generate power by 2026. Not only that, but the company also wants to convert old coal-fueled plants into steam-powered facilities by 2028. Around 8.3% of the world’s energy could be sourced from geothermal, distributing it to 17% of the global population. Nearly 40 countries could benefit from using geothermal energy.
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