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Transitioning to renewable energy

Jack Norbeck
(Photo courtesy of Jack Norbeck)

Jack Norbeck

PhD '16
Energy Resources Engineering

“It’s essential that the world makes the transition very quickly to renewable energy. We know that there are a lot of systemic issues involved. Geothermal has unique traits that can help to ease that process,” said Jack Norbeck, Energy Resources Engineering PhD ‘16. Norbeck is working on bringing geothermal energy to the world in his role as co-founder of Fervo Energy. Geothermal is a zero-carbon emission, renewable energy source. However, it isn’t used as commonly as solar or wind in many places because “current technology is limited to niche geological locations,” he said. “The technology we’re working on at Fervo Energy would allow us to further explore and utilize these sources.”

While at Stanford, Norbeck’s research focused on developing and using advanced computational models to improve our understanding of the physics behind geothermal energy. He always thought there would be a valuable opportunity in geothermal, which is a renewable energy source that can be used 100 percent of the time, unlike wind and solar, which only work in certain conditions. “Aside from being a zero-carbon emission energy source, another special aspect of geothermal is its flexibility,” he said. “We think it encourages the development of more wind and solar because they can be used to complement each other and accelerate our society towards 100 percent renewable energy.”

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