Quaise Energy Inc. has teamed with the Laboratory for Scientific Computing (LabSC) to develop computational models of the interaction of high-energy beams with geological materials. The project is supported by co-funding provided by the Gianna Angelopoulos Programme for Science Technology and Innovation (GAPSTI).
The models developed will provide understanding of the fundamental physics underlying the operation of a gyrotron-powered millimeter-wave (MMW) energy drilling system developed by Quaise, a spin-off company born from research at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Plasma Science and Fusion Center.
This new, breakthrough technology will be used for MMW drilling to reach depths of 10-20 km below the earth’s surface, which is beyond what can be accomplished today using conventional drilling.
Deep drilling will enable harvesting supercritical geothermal energy with power densities several order of magnitudes larger than wind or solar energy, thus opening the opportunity for accessing a clean, carbon-free and power-dense energy source anywhere around the world.
The successful development of a commercial system has to overcome technical challenges related to the interaction of millimeter electromagnetic waves with basement rock formations at extreme conditions and far-field transport of material.
The research at the Cavendish, co-funded by Quaise and GAPSTI, will involve the development of mathematical models and algorithms suitable for the direct numerical simulation of the near- and far-field processes, which involve plasma generation, phase-change, molten rock flow and material removal via vaporization.