Houston based Fervo Energy is to design and engineer a fully integrated geothermal and direct air capture facility, with support from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI). At this stage, the aimed-at capacity of the plant has not been disclosed.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, limiting warming to 1.5 degC will require the net removal of 100-1000 gigatons of carbon dioxide by 2100, creating significant demand for carbon removal solutions, including DAC solutions, ideally using ‘clean’ power.

In a DAC facility, large fans move air over CO2 capture materials. The carbon dioxide is heated, concentrated, and then, in many instances, pumped underground. To operate economically and sustainably, DAC requires a reliable source of carbon-free electricity and heat. Fervo says its designs for a combined geothermal and direct air capture facility can provide ‘an innovative solution to these challenges that will lower the cost of carbon removal’.

In pioneering next-generation geothermal technology, Fervo has adapted existing innovations, such as horizontal drilling and distributed fibre optic sensing, to turn reservoirs of hot rock beneath the earth’s surface into economically viable sources of clean energy. The new funding helps Fervo leverage geothermal resources to provide 24/7 carbon-free power and heat to DAC systems and explore geothermal reservoirs’ potential for local subsurface carbon sequestration.

This funding builds on CZI’s support for organisations that are advancing promising climate change solutions, including carbon dioxide removal. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was founded in 2015 to help solve some of society’s toughest challenges – from eradicating disease and improving education, to addressing the needs of our communities.