The Carmacks Development Corporation and a Calgary-founded green energy company have signed an agreement to look into bringing a new kind of geothermal technology to the Yukon.
Carmacks Development Corporation (CDC) director Cory Bellmore and Eavor Technologies Inc. president and CEO John Redfern signed a partnership agreement at a renewable energy conference in Whitehorse on Jan. 29.
The agreement gives the CDC a seat on Eavor Yukon’s board of directors as well as equity in the company, and will see the corporation and Eavor work on building an “Eavor-Loop” in the Carmacks area.
The Eavor-Loop taps into the internal heat of the Earth to generate electricity, but unlike other geothermal projects is a closed system — fluid continuously circles in a massive loop of pipe that descends kilometres-deep into the ground. In theory, the heat from the Earth will heat up the fluid in the deeply-buried parts of the pipe, causing that portion of fluid to rise, while cooler fluid in other parts of the loop will sink, creating a constant circulation that doesn’t require a mechanical pump.
The flow of fluid brings thermal energy to the surface, where it can be used to generate electricity or heat homes.
An Eavor-Loop has never been used anywhere in the world before, although the company built what it says was a successful demo project in Alberta last year.
Speaking to reporters after the signing of the agreement, Redfern said an Eavor-Loop would cost approximately $30 million to install, and although a location hasn’t been picked for the project yet, it could, in theory, be placed directly in Carmacks because it doesn’t emit noise or harmful emissions.
He said the company has received interest in the system from around the world and is hoping to begin drilling observation wells next summer, including in the Carmacks area, although it’s unclear when the system would be fully installed and functional.
Once installed, the loop would “start out small” by producing about three megawatts to fit into the Yukon government’s independent power producer program, Redfern said, but the output can also be scaled up later.
Bellmore said that the technology was “really attractive” to the CDC as it has a small footprint, and doesn’t take anything out or add anything to the landscape like other electricity-generating methods might.
Besides serving as a source of baseload power — basically, the minimum amount of electricity required in a grid — and a heating option for the community, Bellmore said an Eaver-Loop would also serve as an opportunity for economic development and for the community to be part of something cutting-edge.
“I think the big difference with the Eavor-Loop technology is that it’s consistent year-round … which would be useful in our Januarys where it’s 48-below,” she said.
Redfern added that the Eavor-Loop produces more power the colder it gets outside.
“How handy is that for the Yukon?” he said.
Contact Jackie Hong at email@example.com