MOECO and Chevron: Advanced closed loop geothermal pilot

In June, Chevron New Energies Japan GK (Chevron New Energies Japan), a subsidiary of Chevron U.S.A. Inc., and Mitsui Oil Exploration Co., Ltd (MOECO) announced the execution of definitive agreements to proceed with the pilot testing of advanced geothermal technology. Pursuant to these agreements, Chevron and MOECO will conduct pilot tests of a developing novel geothermal technology, specifically advanced closed loop (ACL) technology.

All text courtesy of Chevron

In September 2022, Chevron New Energies International Pte, Ltd. signed a joint collaboration agreement (JCA) with MOECO to further explore the technical and commercial feasibility of advanced geothermal energy development and other new energies technology. The agreements to conduct pilot testing by Chevron New Energies Japan and MOECO is the first project contemplated by the JCA.

Source: Dreamstime
Source: Dreamstime

What is ACL?

ACL technology involves sub-surface heat exchange through conduction by circulating a working fluid from the surface through a loop of underground wells to generate electricity (through surface facilities) by utilizing sub-surface geothermal heat (sub-surface radiator). It does not require direct extraction of hot water (brine) or steam from underground reservoirs, as is the case with conventional geothermal technology. ACL is gaining momentum worldwide as a novel technology that has the potential to unlock geothermal energy globally in multiple locations, closer to load and customers, promoting geothermal development which can be a lower carbon energy solution and a reliable baseload.

Promoting renewable energy projects

The pilot test using this ACL technology is expected to be conducted in the Niseko region of Hokkaido, Japan, with the aim of derisking, scaling and commercializing geothermal power generation based on ACL technology with additional potential as a heat resource. MOECO and Chevron New Energies Japan will consider commercial applications based on learnings from this pilot both in Japan and globally and will leverage the long relationship between the two companies that has developed through a collaboration of more than 40 years in energy development in the Asia Pacific region.

“Chevron believes that the future of energy is lower carbon and aims to be a leader in providing affordable, reliable and ever cleaner energy. Chevron and MOECO believe that geothermal can be a significant enabler in Japan’s lower carbon and net zero journey,” said Barbara Harrison, Vice President of Offsets and Emerging, Chevron New Energies International Pte, Ltd. “Geothermal development needs to be carried out with the final customer in mind and with consideration of potential impacts to the environment and the local community. This milestone confirms the commitment of Chevron New Energies Japan and MOECO to testing out novel geothermal technologies that have the possibility to unlock Japan’s geothermal potential while reducing potential community impact.”

“We are pleased to launch this pilot test of ACL technology with Chevron New Energies. ACL technology has the potential to unlock geothermal development in Japan and around the world. We expect to open up a new geothermal business by collaborating with Chevron New Energies, which has advanced technology and extensive experience to tackle this challenging project,” said Hirotaka Hamamoto, Chief Executive Officer of MOECO. “We, MOECO, a member of the Mitsui & CO’s group company, aim to contribute to the stable supply of energy, achieving improved standards of living, and sustainable development of society through the promotion of renewable energy projects such as geothermal power generation.”

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