News

Closed-loop geothermal project receives funding from Shell GameChanger program

Coso well, California (source: GreenFire Energy)
Alexander Richter 16 Nov 2017

For its innovative closed-loop geothermal power project, GreenFire Energy has received financial support through the Shell GameChanger™ program for its pilot project at the Coso California geothermal field.

In a release, U.S.-based GreenFire Energy Inc.  announced that the Shell GameChanger™ program has agreed to provide financial support for GreenFire’s demonstration of closed-loop geothermal power generation at a currently inactive well in the Coso California geothermal field.

GreenFire Energy Inc.’s innovative ECO2G™ geothermal well retrofit technology will enable geothermal project owners to generate power from idle or marginal wells at low risk and attractive cost per MWh. Success in geothermal well retrofits will eventually enable GreenFire to develop large-scale ECO2G projects in other locations.

ECO2G technology harnesses recent advances in deep and directional drilling technologies from the oil and gas industry to access geothermal resources that cannot be developed with existing geothermal technology. The demonstration project involves inserting a co-axial closed-loop tube into an existing geothermal well that lacks sufficient pressure and permeability to generate power. Various refrigerants including supercritical carbon dioxide will then be circulated to transfer heat to the surface and generate power from a small turbo expander.

“GreenFire Energy’s ECO2G technology is the culmination of years of research with the U.S. Department of Energy, national laboratories, and universities. We are pleased that the Shell GameChanger™ Program review process corroborated our own research,” said Joseph Scherer, Chief Executive Officer of GreenFire Energy Inc.

Malcolm Ross, the Program Manager who ushered GreenFire through the Shell GameChanger™ vetting process, explained the relevance of ECO2G to Shell. “Shell is transitioning from a conventional oil and gas company to a global diversified energy company with strategic investments in low-carbon energy solutions and associated technologies. Consistent with our GameChanger mandate to explore alternatives, we believe the cutting-edge innovation of ECO2G will provide us new insights into the game-changing potential of this style of geothermal power generation.”

The California Energy Commission, has also been a major funding source for the project. David Hochschild, a Commissioner at CEC stated “The Energy Commission is excited to see GreenFire Energy’s closed loop geothermal demonstration project come to fruition. Renewable energy technology, like geothermal power, is constantly evolving to meet the world’s energy needs and climate goals, and we are happy to play a part in funding this new technology research.”

The Energy Commission’s Geothermal Grant and Loan program has a mission to provide funding to promote development of California’s vast geothermal energy resources and GreenFire Energy Inc. was selected for funding from a highly competitive grant solicitation.

GreenFire Energy Inc.

GreenFire Energy Inc. offers an elegantly simple solution to harvest the earth’s “thermal battery,” which is by far the largest source of continuous clean renewable energy. GreenFire Energy’s proprietary ECO2G™ technology can be used at existing geothermal fields to restore marginal wells to productivity. ECO2G’s modular, scalable architecture can also access the extremely large, hot and deep geothermal resources that have been previously unreachable. Equally important, ECO2G provides continuous yet flexible power that quickly responds to the grid’s dynamically changing power demands.

Shell GameChanger™

Founded in 1996, the Shell GameChanger programme works with early-stage start-ups and businesses on unproven ideas and new business models with the potential to impact the future of energy. GameChanger provides start-ups with a quick and cost-efficient way to develop the technical and commercial viability of their technology idea or business plan by offering support, expertise and seed funding, while they maintain the independence to make their own decisions. Shell GameChanger has interacted with more than 5,000 innovators around the world, helping them turn more than 150 ideas into reality. We are ready to take a chance on yours. Go to www.Shell.com/gamechanger