The Azimuth Project
RE<C

Idea

Google’s RE < C project is aimed at developing utility scale renewable energy cheaper than coal:

They write:

RE<\ltC is working to develop one gigawatt of renewable energy capacity – enough to power a city the size of San Francisco – at a price cheaper than coal in years, not decades. Current R&D projects in the field of advanced solar thermal power include an effort to design and build extremely low-cost heliostats – mirrors that track the sun and reflect sunlight to concentrate solar energy. Our team is also working on the development of a solar Brayton engine (a gas turbine engine like those currently used in jet aircraft, but powered by sunlight) that would heat air to drive a turbine and generate electricity. We hope our work increases efficiency and lowers costs to create renewable energy that is cheaper than coal.

Other potential breakthrough technologies being researched include wind power technologies and enhanced geothermal systems (EGS). For example, we are sponsoring a project to create the first “Geothermal Map of the World” – an important step in recognizing resources and showing potential. With an array of international partners, we helped to develop a global protocol for EGS resource mapping and estimation being reviewed by international technical bodies. Recently, the SMU Geothermal Laboratory, a Google.org grantee, discovered unexpectedly high temperatures beneath West Virginia capable of supporting geothermal energy production, which increased West Virginia’s geothermal generation potential by 75% over previous estimates.

In addition, Google.org is taking several significant steps to advance RE<\ltC. First, we are making strategic grants and investments that demonstrate a path toward producing renewable energy at a cost below that of coal-fired power plants. Google.org will also continue to advance public policies that accelerate the development of renewable energy. Finally, we’ll use Google’s innovative products and resources to unlock information that enables innovation and raises awareness about the benefits of renewable energy.

category: organizations