Less than 0.3% of the world’s energy output is from geothermal energy. This is, in part, due to the lack of scalability and speed of deployment of geothermal solutions. This is a problem Eavor hopes to solve with funding from Alberta Innovates.
Eavor is a technology-based geothermal energy company. Eavor’s closed-loop geothermal system is a system that produces baseload energy with no GHG emissions and with no direct contact to aquifers eliminating the risk of contamination. A closed-loop system like Eavor’s differs from conventional geothermal power as it consists of a sub-surface heat exchanger that relies only on heat transfer into a network of wellbores, rather than a reservoir, to capture the earth’s heat for electricity or heating demands.
Eavor approached Alberta Innovates for funding in 2019 to build a demonstration facility in central Alberta. With a million dollars in funding from Alberta Innovates, funding from the Government of Canada, Emissions Reduction Alberta, and investor funding, the Derek Riddell Eavor-Lite™ Demonstration Facility (Eavor-Lite™) is now fully functional and operating in central Alberta.
Eavor-Lite™ demonstrates the critical elements of the new closed-loop geothermal technology. Eavor-Lite™ was executed on-time and on-budget proving that the closed-loop technology can be drilled, sealed, and operated with thermodynamic results in agreement with predictions based on simulations.
Eavor is building on Alberta’s expertise in energy, drilling, and engineering to grow clean geothermal technology in the province. Since Eavor-Lite™ is the only operating asset of its type, it provides Eavor with some important advantages in the geothermal industry. New approaches, engineering changes, and trials can be tested in real operating conditions. The team at Eavor uses engineering trials to improve the efficiency of the Eavor-Lite™ system. Eavor used this experience to author a paper titled “Eavor-Lite™ Performance Update and Extrapolation to Commercial Projects” based on two years operational experience.
Eavor-Lite™ is also Eavor’s most effective negotiator. Eavor regularly tours potential buyers and investors through the facility showing real-world geothermal solutions instead of engineering on paper. The result is that Eavor-Lite™ is helping to secure Eavor’s first commercial project in Geretsried, Germany.
In Europe, nearly 50% of total residential and commercial energy demand is for heating rather than electricity, making geothermal a natural choice for Germany. Recently the German government announced massively expanding the case for heat energy supply, which accounts for more than half of Germany’s total energy demand as they aim to generate zero emissions heat by 2030.
Alberta Innovates’ initial investment and validation of this geothermal technology opened the doors to private sector and federal government participation. Now, Eavor-Lite™ is a tangible advantage in the geothermal industry, helping to advance engineering solutions, create jobs, and securing sales in Alberta’s growing clean-tech industry.