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Future technologies: geothermal energy, perovskites and AI batteries

Conventional geothermal power plants require specific geological conditions – particularly permeable rocks with water sources – so geothermal energy accounts for less than 1% of the world’s renewable energy capacity. Fervo Energy and Utah FORGE lab are preparing improved geothermal systems based on hydraulic fracturing techniques. Water is injected into the rocks, which produces steam and it drives turbines that generate electricity. AltaRock Energy, meanwhile, is developing techniques to access scorching rocks that could dramatically increase energy production.

Beyond Silicon, Caelux, First Solar, Hanwha Q Cells, Oxford PV, Swift Solar and Tandem PV are developing technology for building solar panels composed of traditional silicon and perovskite minerals. In November 2023, that technology broke the world record for panel efficiency. Perovskites absorb light at a different wavelength than silicon cells – together, they can use more of the solar spectrum and produce more electricity per solar panel.

Microsoft used the artificial intelligence-based Azure Quantum Elements system to test over 32 million ways to build batteries from various available and non-natural materials. Thanks to that, it was possible to create a new type of battery that could reduce the demand for lithium by approximately 70%. Lithium is an expensive metal and is problematic regarding mining and environmental damage.

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