The launch of the TGI is being supported by Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt. Institutional members include the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, The University of Houston, Southern Methodist University, Rice University, and Texas Christian University, with more than a dozen oil and gas industry entities participating as partners.
The TGI will take GEO’s successful model of demand-pull innovation for geothermal and expand it across research institutions in Texas with deep expertise in geoscience, well and subsurface engineering. The consortium will perform a series of design and road-mapping sprints over the coming months, producing a succinct technology development roadmap that highlights areas where oil and gas entities are willing to collaborate on geothermal technology development, identifying areas where funding for R&D is needed to fill technology gaps and alleviate pain points, and determining funding priorities for each identified area of need. The roadmap will also identify specific areas of expertise within institutional partners in Texas that correspond to each area of interest identified by the consortium. Where near-commercial ‘on the bench’ solutions are identified within institutions during the road-mapping exercise, GEO will provide support for entity formation, funding entity engagement, and acceleration into the Texas startup incubation ecosystem.
GEO’s Founder and Executive Director, Jamie Beard, noted that the big opportunity to achieve impactful scale for geothermal is active engagement of the oil and gas industry, for which Texas is the global epicenter. “Geothermal provides a stable, clean transition avenue that is nearly perfectly aligned with the operational and technical expertise of the industry, as well as the skills of its workforce,” she noted. She is excited to see the trend of geothermal startups providing work opportunities for unemployed oil and gas industry workforce, many of them associated with GEO. “The goal of the TGI is to catalyze the acceleration of that trend, with the ultimate goal of workforce retention within oil and gas entities themselves. Should the oil and gas industry engage in geothermal at scale, there is potential for the industry to grow, not retract, over the coming decades in order to meet geothermal demand, resulting in a massive impact on a workforce of millions.”
“Geothermal could play a much larger role in generating clean, affordable, abundant, and reliable energy,” said Tom Kalil, Schmidt Futures’ Chief Innovation Officer. “Our support aligns with Schmidt Futures’ mission to bet early on exceptional people making the world better. We hope the private sector, philanthropy and policy-makers will work together to foster geothermal’s potential to increase production of renewable energy and create jobs.”
With expected publication in March of 2022, the TGI roadmap will be utilized by a variety of stakeholders to guide funding interest to projects prioritized as likely to have the most impact in supporting the growth and development of geothermal energy in Texas and beyond.
About the Geothermal Entrepreneurship Organization (GEO) – GEO is a demand-pull innovation exercise aimed at commercializing geothermal relevant technologies and innovations, engaging the oil and gas industry in geothermal related challenges, and recruiting oil and gas entities and veterans to engage in new geothermal ventures and development. GEO focuses on startups as the vehicle for commercialization of new geothermal technologies, supporting the formation of geothermal ventures poised for fast impact, and entrepreneurs who are solving problems identified by industry partners as key to enabling exponential growth. Over the past year, GEO associated startups have raised tens of millions in funding, with several, including Sage Geosystems and CausewayGT, developing partnerships with oil and gas entities within months of their formation. www.texasgeo.org
About Schmidt Futures – Schmidt Futures is a philanthropic initiative of Eric and Wendy Schmidt. We bet early on exceptional people making the world better. We are building a network of the sharpest minds on Earth — helping them to solve hard problems in science and society by connecting them across fields, bringing multiple types of capital to bear, and applying modern tools and technology thoughtfully. https://www.schmidtfutures.com/