This transcript has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Newberry Volcano — the largest volcano in the Pacific Northwest — is the site of an experiment that’s aiming for a breakthrough in geothermal energy.
The experiment is one small step in the high-risk, high-reward world of next generation
geothermal. The goal is to replace fossil fuels with this always-on, renewable energy. The challenge, however, is getting it to work.
To access geothermal energy you need three elements: Heat, water, and permeable rock.
The water flows through gaps in the hot permeable rock, transferring heat from deep underground to the surface. That’s geothermal energy.
The world’s first geothermal resources were the rare places where those three things just happened to come together naturally. Like hot springs or geysers, found in places like the U.S. mountain West.
Early projects were extremely simple: pumping the water into buildings for heat and hot baths. But eventually, starting in the 20th century, countries all around the world — like Italy, Iceland, and the United States — started using geothermal energy to prod... Read more