Bedrock Energy believes the solution to decarbonizing skyscrapers lies 1,500 feet underground

Bedrock Energy believes the solution to decarbonizing skyscrapers lies 1,500 feet underground

Rate this post


Climate tech is in a place where it needs all the help it can get. Fortunately, there is a lot of untapped expertise in the oil and gas sector.

Case in point: Silviu Livescu spent decades working in the oil and gas industry for Baker Hughes and ExxonMobil. He has won numerous awards from the Society of Petroleum Engineers and holds dozens of patents to help get more oil out of the ground.

Then in 2021, he became a professor at the University of Texas at Austin and taught the school’s first geothermal engineering class. He also helped write a report on the subject. Now he has a company that uses his expertise in drilling deep into the Earth’s crust and converting it into sustainable geothermal heating and cooling for commercial and industrial buildings.

Large buildings almost always have large carbon footprints, and taking carbon out of their heating and cooling systems is especially challenging. Many buildings use natural gas to heat themselves in the cold months, and some even use fossil fuels for cooling in the summer. It is possible to swap out boilers with air-source heat pumps, but this is not always practical, especially if the building is taller than it is wide and roof space is tight.

That’s why Livescu and his company Bedrock Energy are looking down rather than up.

Ground-source heat pumps, also known as geothermal heat pumps, can help decarbonize heating and cooling for large buildings across the country. Such systems circulate water or other working fluids in and out of the ground, where the earth’s tendency to maintain a constant temperature helps heat or cool the building above.

Geothermal is by no means a new technology, but Bedrock hopes his team’s oil and gas bona fides can help it penetrate markets that have previously ignored this technology. This week, the company said it has raised an $8.5 million seed round led by Wireframe Ventures with participation from Overture Climate VC, Long Journey Ventures, Cantos, Toba Capital, First Star Ventures, Divergent Capital, and Climate Capital.

Most ground-source heat pumps rely on refrigerant loops that run horizontally several feet below the surface or bores that extend a few hundred feet below. For single-family homes or complexes that have a lot of open space, these approaches make sense. But for skyscrapers or industrial buildings, there may not be enough land for the horizontal loops or large number of vertical bores that would be required.


No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *