Quaise Energy, a geothermal energy company born from MIT, has set its sights on harnessing the unlimited renewable energy that exists beneath the earth’s surface. To do so, Quaise plans on drilling holes at least twice as deep as the deepest holes ever created (i.e. Russia’s Kola Superdeep Borehole and Qatar’s Al Shaheen oil well, each of which sit at about 7.5 miles deep), which, according to CEO Carlos Araque, would generate power “at a scale far greater than wind and solar.”
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To achieve its mission, Quaise plans on using gyrotrons, a specific type of vacuum tube that shoots millimeter-wave light beams, to burn holes into the earth. Gyrotrons are capable of burning holes about 12 miles deep, allowing Quaise to facilitate the water-into-steam sequence that effectively produces usable energy. A single super-deep hole will take a few months to burn, but once finished, each will be capable of supplying energy to a region for up to 100 years. If all goes to plan, Quaise will be busy retrofitting coal-fueled power plants into geothermal energy hotspots by 2028.
Though some parts of the world utilize geothermal energy more than others, this form of energy currently only powers a small fraction of civilization. Quaise believes that finding a way to safely harness geothermal energy in more areas around the globe could be the key to reducing humans’ ever-lasting reliance on fossil fuels, which remains only slightly reduced by (relatively) recent solar and wind power developments.