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Calgary company receives funding for 'holy grail' geothermal project

Last Updated Apr 25, 2019 at 2:54 pm MDT

Eavor Technologies Inc. is collaborating with Precision Drilling and Shell New Energies, along with a number of other key partners, to construct a closed-loop geothermal system near Rocky Mountain House. Courtesy: Eavor.com

CALGARY (660 NEWS) —¬†Thanks to $6.7 million in funding from the federal government, a Calgary-based company will be able to start developing a new geothermal energy facility.

Eavor Technologies Inc. is collaborating with Precision Drilling and Shell New Energies, along with a number of other key partners, to construct a closed-loop geothermal system near Rocky Mountain House.

The key piece of this project is the closed-loop aspect.

“Closed-loop being the long promised but never delivered holy grail of geothermal energy. Since it requires neither volcanic temperatures, which we don’t have a lot of here, or permeable aquifers,” said Eavor Technologies President and CEO John Redfern. “The facility will represent an important first step in Alberta’s energy evolution.”

In this project, renewable energy will be created by using the Earth’s natural heat to turn water into steam.

Wells would be drilled deep underground and then connected with pipes, which will pump water between them and harness heat from the planet’s core.

It is a type of project that has usually been unusable in the country, without this closed-loop system.

“By not needing high-temperature aquifers, it transforms geothermal from a niche energy source that’s really only useful in places like Iceland to something that’s globally scalable,” added Redfern. “It will transform Alberta and Canada from a jurisdiction that today has essentially no geothermal energy whatsoever, to potentially leading the world with the first truly closed-loop geothermal solution.”

Redfern added it’s particularly exciting because it is an Alberta-made solution that further diversifies the energy sector, and utilizes a lot of the same technology as oil and gas drilling.

“We’re the Silicon Valley of oil and gas services. We have to build on that, not just install someone else’s technology. This is a solution that, unlike wind and solar, builds on our oil and gas roots here in Alberta. It’s a solution that builds upon the world-leading expertise we have in geoscience and drilling and energy infrastructure,” he said.

The federal funding is provided by Natural Resources Canada’s Clean Growth Program and Sustainable Development Technology Canada.

The project near Rocky Mountain House is a demonstration facility, called Eavor-Lite, and if all goes well it will facilitate even more development in this technology.

Using the 1969 Moon landing as a reference, Redfern said this could spark a revolution.

“Today we’re one small startup, taking a similar small step — but one which we believe will lead to one giant leap forward for Alberta’s, for Canada’s and for the world’s energy future.”