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Join host Paul Shapiro as he talks with some of the leading start-up entrepreneurs and titans of industry alike using their businesses to help solve the world’s most pressing problems.

Dec 1, 2022

The inside of the earth’s pretty hot. How hot? As hot as the surface of the sun. Seriously. 

That heat could generate unbelievable amounts of clean geothermal energy to power our civilization—if we could reach all the way down there. You see, to get to fossil fuels like oil and gas, we only need to drill down a couple kilometers. In places that have volcanoes, like Iceland, you can fairly easily reach down into hellish parts of the earth to harness geothermal energy, but most human populations tend not to be crowded around active volcanoes for obvious reasons. 

In the places where power plants typically exist—near human civilization—we’d need to drill more like 10-20 kilometers down, which just isn’t really possible with conventional drilling techniques. 

Enter Quaise Energy, a four-year-old startup that’s raised $70 million so far to drill deeper than humans have ever gone. Their plan isn’t to use mechanical drill bits, which are limited in their utility at such deep depths, but rather to vaporize rock using microwaves. 

Their plan is as bold as it is simple: Drill thousands of these eight-inch-wide but super-deep holes right next to existing power plants. That way, the plants can run on geothermal energy and stop using coal to create the energy we all use daily. 

If it works, it’s a rapidly scalable solution to quickly slash our fossil fuel use and avert the most catastrophic climate scenarios.

Our guest in this episode is Quaise Energy’s CFO, Kevin Bonebreak, a guy who spent most of his career in the conventional energy investment world, and is now working to bring about a cleaner, safer, and saner way to power human civilization. 

Discussed in this episode

  • Kevin recommends books by Vaclav Smil, including his works on energy
  • Kevin also recommend reading Loonshots
  • MIT on Quaise’s holes
  • Bloomberg on Quaise’s gameplan
  • Quaise’s latest (2022) financing round of $52 million

More about Kevin Bonebrake

Kevin Bonebrake is the CFO of Quaise Energy. He joined the startup from Lazard, where he was a Managing Director in the financial advisory business focused on the energy industry. Prior to joining Lazard in 2017, Bonebrake was a Managing Director in Morgan Stanley’s Global Natural Resources investment banking practice and was a Vice President with Citigroup’s Global Energy, Power and Chemicals investment banking team. Bonebrake completed his graduate research in industrial laser applications in the Naval Architecture department at the Helsinki University of Technology and was a member of the intellectual property licensing team at Delphi Automotive.