Geothermal energy

Chevron Teams With MOECO on Advanced Closed-Loop Geothermal Pilot in Japan

Putting into action an agreement signed in 2022, the companies will collaborate on the project to test the emerging technology for producing geothermal energy.

Source: Chevron

Chevron New Energies Japan and Mitsui Oil Exploration Co. (MOECO) announced they will conduct pilot tests of a developing novel geothermal technology—advanced closed-loop (ACL) technology.

In September 2022, Chevron New Energies International signed a joint collaboration agreement (JCA) with MOECO to 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.

ACL technology involves subsurface 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 using subsurface geothermal heat (subsurface radiator). It does not require direct extraction of hot water or steam from underground reservoirs, as is the case with conventional geothermal technology. ACL is gaining momentum worldwide as a technology that has the potential to unlock geothermal energy globally in multiple locations, closer to load and customers, promoting geothermal development that can be a lower-carbon energy solution and a reliable baseload.

“Chevron believes that the future of energy is lower carbon and aims to be a leader in providing affordable, reliable, and ever cleaner energy,” said Barbara Harrison, vice president of offsets and emerging for Chevron New Energies International. “Chevron and MOECO believe that geothermal can be a significant enabler in Japan’s lower carbon and net zero journey. 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.”

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.

“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, MOECO’s CEO. “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.”