Updated: Jan 10
The TGI already has the support of Texas' top institutions and premier oil and gas players.
On Tuesday, January 4, 2022, the Geothermal Entrepreneurship Organization (GEO) at the University of Texas at Austin announced the formation of a new consortium for geothermal development, the Texas Geothermal Institute (TGI). The institute is an "interdisciplinary, cross-state demand-pull innovation and commercialization exercise aimed at engaging top researchers and research institutions in Texas within petroleum and geoscience disciplines with the most pressing technological obstacles to widespread geothermal deployment."
Demand-pull innovation is the development of new products out of an unmet need. In this case, the demand for reliable and continuous renewable energy that geothermal provides.
The Purpose of the Texas Geothermal Institute
The Texas Geothermal Institutes' goal is to leverage the expertise of the oil and gas industry in Texas and Texas research institutions to "catalyze the Texas geothermal economy." TGI has the support of Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative by Eric and Wendy Schmidt, along with institutional members, including the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, The University of Houston, Southern Methodist University, Rice University, and Texas Christian University. More than a dozen oil and gas players have pledged partnerships as well.
"Geothermal provides a stable, clean transition avenue that is nearly perfectly aligned with the operational and technical expertise of the [oil and gas] industry, as well as the skills of its workforce," Jamie Beard, GEO's Founder and Executive Director, said.
The Path to Geothermal Deployment
In the coming months, the consortium plans to provide designs and roadmaps that highlight areas where oil and gas industry partners are willing to collaborate in the development of geothermal technology, identify funnels for R&D funding, and outline priorities for the identified gaps in the path to deploying geothermal technologies on a large scale. The initial roadmap is set to be released in March 2022.
"Geothermal could play a much larger role in generating clean, affordable, abundant, and reliable energy," Tom Kalil, Schmidt Futures' Chief Innovation Officer, said. "Our support aligns with Schmidt Futures' mission to bet early on exceptional people making the world better. We hope the private sector, philanthropy, and policy-makers will work together to foster geothermal's potential to increase production of renewable energy and create jobs."