Today’s Solutions: May 22, 2022

Geothermal power is the best of both worlds. It is flexible, like natural-gas power, providing energy whenever needed. And it’s green, like wind and solar power, producing almost no emissions. So, why isn’t everyone using geothermal energy if it’s so good? Places like Iceland and Indonesia can enjoy large amounts of geothermal energy because they have access to extremely hot water near volcanoes, but others like France of the UK don’t have the same luxury. That could soon change though thanks to Climeon, a Swedish company that has come up with a technology that can make use of low-temperature heat, which opens up economically viable geothermal power to much of the world. The company is already poised to scale up beyond the five countries it operates today after the Bill Gates-backed fund Breakthrough Energy Ventures provided $12.5 million in funding.  What makes Climeon’s technology special is that comes in the form of modular blocks that are 8 cubic meters and can draw enough power from any heat source to heat 150 European homes continuously. That means beyond geothermal, it can also generate power at other sources of heat such as steel factories with piping hot waste water. Between low-temperature geothermal and waste heat, Climeon is filling a new niche in carbon-free electricity generation that didn’t exist a decade ago, and which seems to have significant potential in improving the chances of success in the global race to zero emissions.

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