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The two companies aim to unlock the potential of geothermal energy with emerging energy technologies.
Chevron New Energies Japan GK, a subsidiary of Chevron U.S.A. Inc., and Mitsui Oil Exploration Co., Ltd (MOECO) have entered an agreement to conduct pilot tests of advanced geothermal technology, specifically the advanced closed-loop (ACL) variant.
In September 2022, Chevron and MOECO signed a joint collaboration agreement (JCA) to assess the technical and commercial viability of advanced geothermal energy development and other emerging energy technologies. The newly announced pilot tests by mark the first project undertaken under the JCA.
ACL technology uses sub-surface heat exchange through conduction, circulating a working fluid from the surface through a loop of subterranean wells to generate electricity using geothermal heat beneath the surface. It eliminates the need for direct extraction of hot water or steam from underground reservoirs, a hallmark of conventional geothermal technology. ACL is quickly gaining traction as a groundbreaking technology that can potentially unlock geothermal energy worldwide in various locations, offering a reliable, lower carbon energy solution.
The planned pilot test using ACL technology will take place in the Niseko region of Hokkaido, Japan. It aims to mitigate risks, scale up, and commercialize geothermal power generation based on ACL technology, with additional potential as a heat resource. Both MOECO and Chevron New Energies Japan plan to use insights from this pilot to consider commercial applications in Japan and globally, capitalizing on the robust relationship developed through over four decades of energy development collaboration in the Asia Pacific region.
"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 at Chevron New Energies International Pte, Ltd., “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."
Hirotaka Hamamoto, Chief Executive Officer of MOECO, said: "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." He concluded by stating MOECO's aim to contribute to a stable energy supply, improved standards of living, and the sustainable development of society through the promotion of renewable energy projects such as geothermal power generation.