GreenFire Energy, 2020: Geothermal Innovation
In June 2020, GreenFire Energy Inc. (GreenFire) presented its report to the California Energy Commission indicating that its proof of concept project to demonstrate its new geothermal electricity generation technology, ECO2G , had been a success. While conventional geothermal electricity only supplied 0.5% of US demand, the new technology promised to increase this to 25% by drilling much deeper. Moreover, it was a closed-loop system which didn't involve fracking like conventional geothermal and promised to be much more cost effective. Unlike other renewables, ECO2G could also provide baseload power 24 hours a day and be adjusted quickly to match demand. CEO Joseph Scherer likened it to the beginning of the oil rush. "When the oil industry first started, prospectors focused on places where oil was seeping out of the ground. Now, they drill for it in deep oceans. Same with geothermal, but geothermal is much easier to find, and there is a lot more of it!" Now Scherer and John Muir, brother of founder Mark Muir, had to choose how they would commercialize the technology. They had many choices.