Project InnerSpace, a Multi-Phase Initiative Supported by the Schmidt Futures Foundation, Launches to Accelerate Global Geothermal Prospecting and Development
Project InnerSpace (InnerSpace), a multi-phase initiative focused on accelerating global geothermal prospecting and development has launched. InnerSpace is directed by Project InnerSpace, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to bringing interdisciplinary stakeholders together to enable development of geothermal energy anywhere in the world. InnerSpace is being led by Jamie Beard, an internationally recognized leader in the ‘geothermal anywhere’ movement, with the support of Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt.
InnerSpace will serve as driver and convener of two global geothermal innovation and deployment sprints aimed at engaging the oil and gas industry and innovative startups in geothermal resource prospecting and development within an accelerated time frame. InnerSpace will also drive much-needed foundational studies that will inform its innovation sprints. The InnerSpace sprints will tackle specific obstacles to widespread geothermal development that are not efficiently addressed by standard organizational structures, and that would benefit society broadly in ways that industry cannot yet monetize. These include subsurface resource characterization to reduce pre-project risk, and funding for ‘first of their kind’ geothermal projects that are difficult to deploy utilizing existing funding mechanisms. By removing these obstacles through purposeful, targeted innovation and interdisciplinary collaboration, within this decade geothermal energy could be scaled into terawatts of output at a cost competitive with solar and wind.
To advance this vision, Schmidt Innovation Fellows, which identifies ideas to leverage technology in solving important societal challenges, will support Project InnerSpace, led by Jamie Beard.
“Geothermal could play a much larger role in generating clean, affordable, abundant, and reliable energy,” said Tom Kalil, Schmidt Futures’ Chief Innovation Officer. “Our support aligns with Schmidt Futures’ mission to bet early on exceptional people making the world better, and inspire others with more resources to drive change at scale. 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.”
About the InnerSpace Innovation and Deployment Sprints:
InnerSpace Phase I:
Phase I of InnerSpace will produce high resolution geothermal prospecting maps to provide information about the quality and depth of geothermal resources within a 100km radius of the world’s major population centers, serving as a project development and prospecting model for accelerated development of geothermal resources. Phase I will convene a global team of subsurface experts to produce and publish a freely accessible, publicly available set of geothermal resource maps, which will be utilized by industry, startups, and funding entities to reduce pre-project subsurface and project siting risk.
InnerSpace Phase II:
Over the past two decades, there have been significant and enabling technology improvements in drilling, well construction, and subsurface engineering, many developed within the oil and gas industry. A large majority of these technologies have not yet been adapted to and applied in the geothermal context, and with purposeful technology and knowledge transfer are expected to have a breakthrough impact in driving down the cost of geothermal projects. At the same time, multiple geothermal startup companies are pushing forward new paradigm shifting concepts in well and surface plant design. But deployment of these new technologies and concepts – called “first of their kind” projects - create financing risk, and currently there is not a funding mechanism able to address this need on a widespread basis. Phase II of InnerSpace will fund ten teams to drill and develop ‘first of their kind’ power or heat producing geothermal projects in strategic locations globally. The goal of Phase II is to drive fast field deployment in geothermal, while concurrently proving the impact of bleeding edge technologies and methods on geothermal projects, driving down cost through learning and iteration in the field. By helping teams traverse the funding valley of death for first of their kind projects, we will unlock significant private investment for subsequent geothermal projects via traditional funding mechanisms.
About Project InnerSpace:
Project InnerSpace (InnerSpace) is a multi-phase initiative focused on accelerating global geothermal prospecting and development. InnerSpace is directed by the Project InnerSpace, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to bringing interdisciplinary stakeholders together to enable the development of geothermal energy anywhere in the world. InnerSpace is led by Jamie Beard, an internationally recognized leader in the ‘geothermal anywhere’ movement, founder of the Geothermal Entrepreneurship Organization (GEO), the Texas Geothermal Institute (TGI), and the Pivot ‘From Hydrocarbons to Heat’ conference series. She serves on the Board of the Texas Geothermal Energy Alliance (TxGEA), an industry association focused on supporting the growth and development of geothermal in Texas.
About Schmidt Futures:
Schmidt Futures bets early on exceptional people making the world better. Founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt, Schmidt Futures is a philanthropic initiative that brings talented people together in networks to prove out their ideas and solve hard problems in science and society. To learn more about our method and the diverse types of capital and tools that we deploy, visit https://www.schmidtfutures.com.