The Impact
Geothermal might make financial sense…

To: The Impact Readers

Howdy 🤠

We had a deep conversation internally this week wondering about how we should approach The Impact and what would make it better and more enjoyable to readers.

As part of that discussion we decided that fewer, higher quality posts that dive into how we see companies and different technologies impacting the world.

We also found this hilarious youtube video of a raccoon.

In Your Inbox: Clean Concrete might finally enter the world; Geothermal might actually make financial sense

🚀 STARTUPS & TECH

Clean Concrete Is Here

Concrete is one of the major producers of greenhouse gasses during the production process. (Image: CarbonCure)

CarbonCure Technologies just closed a round of funding for an undisclosed amount of money. Notable investors include Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund and Breakthrough Energy Ventures (with others in the syndicate). CarbonCure recycles waste carbon dioxide to make stronger and greener concrete.

Why does this matter?

  • Traditional methods of manufacturing concrete involve heating limestone (calcium carbonate) at a temperature of 2700°F, resulting in the direct release of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Largely due to this chemical reaction, cement manufacturing is the most carbon-intensive process in the concrete production life cycle.
  • Cement is responsible for 7% of global carbon dioxide emissions. Cement is primarily used to create concrete for construction. By injecting carbon dioxide into concrete, CarbonCure produces stronger concrete and reduces carbon emissions.
  • CarbonCure uses carbon dioxide sourced by industrial emitters to reduce the carbon impact of concrete by 4-6%.


What’s next?

  • CarbonCure’s goal is to prevent 500 megatonnes of emissions from entering the atmosphere every year by 2030.
  • As carbon offsets are becoming more popular, other industrial companies will change their practices and operations.
  • In 2020, big tech companies have pledged to become carbon neutral by 2040. Achieving carbon neutrality is no simple task and requires a variety of solutions, including carbon offsets and more environmentally friendly construction materials.
  • CarbonCure’s technology will incentivize carbon emitters to be more environmentally conscious and capture their carbon emissions to create value.
  • Investment in the carbon offset market and technology will spur innovation in sustainable construction materials, carbon capture technology, and carbon products.


Thoughts

Carbon offset purchases are only one way for companies to go carbon neutral. It is just as important, if not more important, for companies to adopt greener and more sustainable practices/operations. Purchasing carbon offsets is the easier of the two options to become carbon neutral, but it is not enough. Carbon offsets should primarily be used for small and medium sized businesses that can’t afford to change their practices, meanwhile large companies should take responsibility for their footprint.

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🚀 STARTUPS & TECH

Does This Finally Make Geothermal Economically Viable?

Geothermal has struggled to become economically viable as a primary & dominant source for electricity.

Transitional Energy is working on transitioning existing oil and gas wells and infrastructure into clean baseload power generators. Traditional geothermal is high risk and typically uneconomic, however Transitional Energy is providing a novel solution to this problem.

Why does this matter?

  • Geothermal energy can be harnessed at any time of day, but the technologies to explore and drill for resources make geothermal energy more expensive than other renewables.
  • Geothermal coproduction has a minimal land use footprint due to the small size of the power units and reusing the existing wells disturbed land. Wind and solar take up huge amounts of land and frequently cause issues with adjacent landowners.
  • As much as 50% of the cost of geothermal comes from drilling. This is where Transitional Energy comes in – to convert existing oil and gas wellbores into cost competitive renewable energy assets.
  • There are a total of about 800,000 wells (out of almost 1 million wells) in the US that are considered stripper wells, which produce less than 15 barrels per day. Most of these stripper wells noted by the EIA are present in basins, which are identified as medium and high temperature geothermal resources by the USGS.
  • Sedimentary geothermal energy competes with fossil fuels by providing clean power generation and competes with wind and solar by providing baseload power that doesn’t require battery storage.
  • Geothermal energy can help as the US strives to meet aggressive renewable energy goals.


What’s next?

  • Baseload power is desperately needed as seen by the latest brownouts that are occurring in California. As more battery storage is created to offset the intermittent nature of wind and solar, in due time there will be a glut of used batteries with caustic chemicals going into landfills. Geothermal is on all the time (or can cycle to meet demand peaks) and does not require batteries.
  • Technology improvements and cost cuts in geothermal energy will come from the oil industry.
  • As fossil fuels are depleted, society will need another source for energy – renewables energy will grow, including geothermal energy. Additionally, the drop in oil demand and services will also make geothermal more affordable.
  • According to the EIA, the US leads globally in geothermal electricity generation, but domestically, geothermal is a negligible part of total electricity generation. However, the Department of Energy estimates that this could change, and geothermal could end up generating 8.5% of all US electricity.
  • In the today’s circumstances 100,000+ oil and gas workers have been laid off this year alone and 3 million oil and gas sites are abandoned. The US could resolve both of these issues by paying laid-off energy workers to clean up abandoned wells or repurposing these wells for geothermal.


Thoughts

The cost of transitioning wells from oil and gas to geothermal is a few tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the work the well needs. Revenue from electrical sales are typically handled through power purchase agreements that have terms anywhere from 10 to 40 years. The initial projects modeled have returns from 25% to above 100% depending revenue and expenses. Converting used wells into geothermal resources would be a great use of “abandoned” land/resources.

đź“» PODCAST UPDATES

How We Can Ingrain Car Sharing Into American Culture. With Aric Ohana

Aric is the CEO/Founder of Envoy There a startup making Electric Vehicles an amenity. Ian Sumner sits downs with Aric to learn about how car sharing can be ingrained into American Culture.

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Writers: Swarnav S Pujari, Ian Sumner, Daniel Kriozere

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