Geothermal technology is the ugly duckling of the renewable energy industry—it's not nearly as flashy as wind or solar, and it deals with the most unsexy of materials: rocks. But Australian company Geodynamics just got a big push to make its geothermal technology a reality, with $90 million from Australia's Renewable Energy Demonstration program.
The company's Hot Fractured Rock (HFR) technology, which is based on a method previously used by the oil industry, siphons off heat from broken granite three kilometers down into the earth's crust. Geodynamics plans to pump high-pressure water into a heat exchanger, which sends the water back up to the surface into another heat exchanger once it hits 200 degrees C.
Geodynamics' technology might not be as sexy as a shiny silicon solar panel. But unlike both solar and wind, it can operate 24/7 because rocks are always hot. HFR isn't suitable for just anywhere, however. Only certain locations (like Australia) have enough underground hot rocks, but Geodynamics could potentially bring HFR to the American southwest, which has already seen geothermal success. Of course, the Australian government's grant is only good for that country. So hint, hint, U.S. government: Consider giving this company some cash if all goes well Down Under.