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A HOT PROPOSAL – CLEAN ENERGY FOREVER WITH CANADIAN START-UP EAVOR™
By Suzanne Forcese
Pronounced “ever”, Eavor™ is a technology based Energy company led by a team dedicated to creating a clean, reliable and affordable energy future on a global scale. With a fresh perspective on geothermal energy and oil industry technologies, Eavor’s team has created a path to restoring harmony to Earth’s ravaged terrain.
WATERTODAY had the pleasure of speaking with Eavor’s President & CEO, John Redfern, about the disruptive, revolutionary technology that mitigates and eliminates issues that have hindered traditional geothermal solutions while at the same time addressing the liabilities of the oil industry’s abandoned wells.
No fracking. No GHG emissions. No earthquake risk. No water use. No aquifer contamination.
“The downturn came early in the oil industry,” Redfern told WT. “There are 100,000 abandoned wells in Alberta alone. When the industry was growing this could be manageable but at this part of the cycle it’s an $80 Billion liability. There’s got to be something better to do with that money.”
Thinking geothermal would be a solution, Redfern and co-founder Paul Cairns soon came to realize that the traditional geothermal niche was “more niche than we thought”. Firstly the amount of water that is required in sufficient volumes cannot be pumped fast enough in and out of an aquifer. Secondly, the parasitic pump load required to move the water in and out of an aquifer uses 50-80% of the total power.
The centre of the Earth is the same temperature as the surface of the Sun (6000 ° C).
If we were to convert the entire planet to geothermal the resource would last 17 Billion years.
Geothermal has remained a niche industry because of the need for permeable aquifers – something that adds risk, cost, and delays. In some cases fracking is also required to extract the water from an aquifer.
The oil industry has neglected geothermal even though it is an alternate energy that builds on the industry’s expertise in building subsurface resources. Again, the problem is the expense in extracting water.
“We kept thinking why can’t we get this idea off the ground,” Redfern said. “We identified the main problem – it is not possible to get enough water in and out of the ground in sufficient volume. A lot of water has to come out of rock which requires electric pumping, not to mention the risks involved.”
The ‘aha moment’ came when the Company’s Director Paul Cairns said, “Why don’t we just drill down two wells and connect them horizontally below ground and we’ll connect them on the surface and make this big loop?”
The company’s engineer Matt Toews pointed out the brilliance of the solution.
This configuration would not only eliminate the parasitic pump load but would in fact pump itself due to the thermosiphon effect. Cold water is denser than warm water, so the cold essentially pushes the warm water to the surface.
"Eavor-Loop™ represents the world’s first truly form of clean baseload power. As a completely closed-loop system Eavor-Loop has the advantage of no fracking, no GHG emissions, no earthquake risk, no water use, no produced brine or solids and no aquifer contamination.
A benign working fluid which is completely isolated from the environment is circulated in a closed-loop, much like a massive subsurface radiator. This ‘radiator’ simply collects heat from the natural geothermal gradient of the Earth via conduction, at geologically common and drilling accessible rock temperatures.
Unlike traditional geothermal the Eavor-loop mitigates many of the issues that hinder other renewable energy sources and is not burdened by niche geography, process intermittencies, grid connectivity or locating concerns.
The secret sauce is in the thermosiphon effect. The loop generates constant energy because of thermodynamics. Cold water is denser than hot water. In a pressurized self-contained loop where cold water is constantly heated underground and the heat is extracted at the surface by Rankine cycle turbines, the liquid constantly circulates without the need for a pump.
“We learned from the oil sands,” Redfern adds. “In the oil sands heat is injected into the ground. We’re just using that concept in reverse.”
Scalable Eavor-Loops are using the tried and tested drilling techniques of the oil & gas sector combined with Eavor’s own 20 patented innovations.
“For the past three years we’ve basically been tweaking and perfecting our technology. There’s a lot of motivation in Alberta with techniques we can leverage. And we know it works. Our Demonstration Project in Alberta has been up and running for over a year.”
The Demonstration Project in Alberta “is so boringly predictable in its efficiency,” Redfern says.
“On budget, on time, and able to do all the things our clients wanted.”
The “Daisy Chain”, a recent design that only requires one above-ground site, therefore
avoiding the need for a second site the right distance away.
The “James Joyce” Design. “We named it after the James Joyce Pub where we came up with the
idea on a napkin,” Redfern says. “It’s like having a daisy chain
folded in half so you’re drilling the up and the down well from the same drilling pad.”
“We are now at the middle stage of our operations,” Redfern continues in reference to commercial operations for the venture-capital-backed company. “Luckily for us Germany, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Singapore, France are willing to pay top dollar for what we can deliver. Failed operations are perfect for us.”
“Bavaria will be our first project.” Like many failed traditional operations all the agreements are already set up, the drilling pad is set up, the regulatory approvals are set up. Where they have failed is in the drilling they have found a dry well. That doesn’t work with traditional geothermal methods. We’re just turning it into a repeatable manufacturing process where we can do one loop after another.”
Redfern says they are also moving into what he calls “island projects” that would include any place that is an island, whether it be an island in the tropics, a military base or remote Northern communities in Canada.
“Canada’s North is a fantastic opportunity for us. The colder the temperature the more power we can produce due to the thermosiphon effect.”
“What’s more important to our Northern Indigenous Peoples – other than water-- is land. With our technology we preserve water and we can allow the Northern communities to keep their land as Nature intended. No wind turbines, no solar panels to disrupt Nature. Just the harmony of the Land for generations to come.”
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