AltaRock Energy Initiates Development of First SuperHot Rock Geothermal Resource

AltaRock Energy (ARE), technology leaders in Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) development, is raising EGS to massive scale — making clean, affordable, renewable geothermal energy available anywhere and everywhere.
 
The next generation of geothermal power, we call Superhot Rock Geothermal (SHR), taps into the massive stores of very high-temperature heat deep in the earths’ crust to yield up to 10 times more energy than a conventional geothermal well and allow geothermal to scale globally. We believe SHR is one of the best solutions for replacing and repurposing fossil fueled power plants and meeting the future global demand for clean energy. ARE’s team and partners are focused on the innovating the key technologies needed to massively scale SHR resources around the world.
Our journey is starting at our site in Newberry Oregon. Join us!
 

1

Advanced Drilling

 
 

Drilling technology is foundational to the development and success of SHR geothermal in becoming “geothermal anywhere”.  For shallower depths < 7 km, conventional drilling methods can be applied with accommodations for higher temperatures not found in typical oil & gas and mining applications. However, to enable deep > 7 km and up to 15-20 km to enable geothermal everywhere, non-mechanical methods are necessary to enable cost effective and fast drilling to these depths. Nonmechanical, energy drilling methods, such as plasma or millimeter wave methods, are currently the most promising method for achieving this goal. ARE is partnering with nonmechanical drilling developers to ensure this technology can meet the future needs of SHR.

2

Well Completion

 
 

Well completion represents up to 25% of overall project development costs, making it critical to project economics.  Existing materials and components used in conventional geothermal and oil & gas are incapable of withstanding the higher temperature environments required for SHR and new technologies are required. Unlike oil & gas wells that reach peak production in a few years, geothermal wells need to run for the life the project – 20 years. This requires advanced materials in cements, couplings, liners and wellheads to accommodate the high thermal stresses and long cycle times to maintain wellbore stability, separate deep geothermal resources from shallow aquifer systems, and ensure the safety of wellfield operations. ARE and its partners are developing new methods for well completion and working on advanced high temperature and stable materials.

3

Reservoir Development

 
 

 

Drilling and well completion represent only half of the wellfield system, developing and maintain a reservoir capable of high flow rates and heat transfer without jeopardizing rapid cooling of the hot rock represents another significant challenge. In order to enable SHR everywhere, reservoirs must be engineered in impermeable rock at great depths using advanced methods to stimulate a sufficient volume of rock to create needed permeability and develop technology and processes to maintain steady state flow over a 2o+ year lifecycle. ARE is engaging in numerical modeling and empirical research to understand rock mechanics at target SHR temperatures and depths to improve upon stimulation and reservoir development techniques in addition to building the tools to model multiphase flow for supercritical fluids and related geochemistry in order to optimize and operate SHR reservoirs in the future.

 

4

SHR Systems

While each of the above areas represents discrete technologies around methods, equipment and processes, it is important to understand that the integration of these various technologies into systems is paramount to achieving technical and economic success. System integration is core to ARE’s past achievements and future purpose. We bring decades of knowledge and experience both developing relevant technology for engineered reservoir systems, but also achieving success by integrating the array of technologies and techniques into replicable systems. By leveraging ARE’s leadership, technology and experience in deploying advanced geothermal systems coupled with an ecosystem of some of the best technology developers as our partners, we will succeed in scaling Superhot Rock geothermal globally. 

Newberry SHR Geothermal Energy (NEWGEN) Project

Newberry Volcano, located near Bend, Oregon, sits atop one of the largest geothermal heat reservoirs in the western United States. After extensive research, AltaRock Energy and its partners have concluded that Newberry could support a commercially viable enhanced geothermal system (EGS) power plant. Using superhot rock (SHR) extraction technology developed by AltaRock Energy, the Newberry SHR Project could one day generate up to 10 gigawatts of electricity (GWe) – enough to power 3 million homes.

Go to the project site

Newberry SHR Geothermal
Energy (NEWGEN) Project

Umatilla Indian Reservation Geothermal Resource Study

AltaRock Energy is working with HotRock Energy Research Organization (HERO) and the U.S. Geologic Survey (USGS) to assess geothermal energy resource potential on the lands of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation,

This multidisciplinary project will evaluate the geophysics, aquatic geochemistry and field geology on tribal lands to identity the best potential sites to develop geothermal resources and help the confederation reach its goal of energy independence.

Umatilla Indian Reservation
Geothermal Resource Study

High Temperature Materials Development

Successful enhanced geothermal system (EGS) projects require specialized materials that can withstand the high temperatures and harsh conditions of superhot rock (SHR) environments. AltaRock Energy is collaborating with Brookhaven National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Ozark Integrated Circuits, Blade Energy Partners and others to to develop, test and commercialize materials and devices that can measure up, including: high temperature and self-healing cements, high temperature electronics for downhole monitoring and imaging devices.

High Temperature Materials Development

mmWave: Next Generation Deep Drilling Technology

For geothermal energy to reach its full potential, delivering abundant electricity anywhere on the planet, major deep drilling advancements will be necessary. AltaRock Energy,” in partnership with Quaise Energy, is developing millimeter wave (mmWave) technology, which enhances drilling with radiation to access superhot rock (SHR), making enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) generation more productive. AltaRock Energy is working with Oakridge National Labs on initial large-scale testing of this technology in 2021.

mmWave:
Next Generation Deep Drilling Technology

Thermoelectric Generators in a Geothermal Field

AltaRock Energy is working with Stanford University and the California Energy Commission to test new thermoelectric generator (TEG) technology to convert heat from geothermal fluids to electricity using solid-state technology.

This project at AltaRocks Bottle Rock Power facility near Cobb, CA, is designed to prove TEG’s viability, which could  enable affordable, small-scale development of geothermal energy between 5 and 30 megawatts (MW).

Thermoelectric Generators in a
Geothermal Field

DEEPEN: DErisking Exploration for geothermal Plays in magmatic ENvironments

Magmatic regions hold significant high temperature geothermal resources at reasonably shallow depths around the world.  The DEEPEN project, a consortium of industrial, academic, and national laboratory partners from Iceland, United States, Norway, Germany and Switzerland,will  benchmark and improve exploration techniques and modelling methods to identify and assess geothermal resources and apply cutting edge exploration techniques to develop supercritical/superhot geothermal resources.   The Newberry Volcano, where AltaRock has been working for over a decade is one of the three global sites selected by the DEEPEN consortium for evaluation.

DEEPEN: DErisking Exploration for geothermal Plays in magmatic ENvironments

Play Fairway Geothermal Resource Analysis

The Cascade mountain range in the Northwest U.S. holds significant, undeveloped geothermal energy potential. AltaRock Energy is working with Washington State geologists to explore the region’s hydrothermal resources using Play Fairway Analysis, a modified petroleum industry exploration methodology. This project uses geomechnical modeling along with temperature and geochemical data to find the most suitable sites for geothermal development.

Play Fairway Geothermal Resource
Analysis – Washington 

Perfect Well Research

Wellfield drilling can account for 60 percent of the cost of a geothermal project. Perfect well analysis helps identify maximum output from a given well and compares it with real world results to help identify the most promising drilling opportunities. Optimizing well development based on existing wellfield data and methods can reduce failures and dramatically reduce costs.

In one of the largest perfect well research projects to date, AltaRock Energy is partnering with Oregon State University, Stanford University and other experts to unlock new and better drilling techniques using machine learning enhanced analysis.

Perfect Well Research

We're working on a number of new and exciting projects.
Petty-Susan
Susan Petty
Founder | President
Bour-Daniel
Daniel Bour
Sr. Well Engineer
Garrison-Geoffrey
Geoffrey Garrison
President | VP R&D
McMurray-Andrew
Andrew McMurray
Completion Engineer
Uddenburg-Matt
Matt Uddenburg
Sr. Geologist
Cladouhos-Trenton
Trenton Cladouhos
Sr. Reservoir Engineer
Moore-Michael
Michael Moore
Sr. Engineer Geothermal Power Plant
Bonneville-Alain
Alain Bonneville
Senior Geophysicist
Watz-Jill
Jill Watz
Corporate Development
Suryanarayana-Suri
P.V. (SURI) SURYANARAYANA
Well Design and Completion
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