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Revolutionary trucks could detect locations to extract game-changing energy from earth: 'Hurdles would be significantly reduced'

"Cities need a lot of energy to keep running."

"Cities need a lot of energy to keep running."

Photo Credit: YouTube

While wind and solar generate most of the headlines, there's another type of clean energy that is on the rise: geothermal.

Geothermal energy refers to using heat trapped in the earth to generate renewable electricity that produces no air pollution once the system is up and running.

Now, a German company has developed a special kind of truck that can drive around cities identifying good places to tap into the earth and extract geothermal energy.

Herrenknecht AG, a company that specializes in tunneling technology, recently released a simulation video that shows how its Urban Vibro Trucks identify the best places for geothermal development, by deploying a "thumper device" that sends seismic waves into the ground. Sensors then record the waves that bounce back, providing a map of the underground.

This type of technology could be a big deal for the development of geothermal energy in urban environments, where companies can have a hard time getting permits for more invasive types of underground mapping.

"Many campaigns currently fail due to lengthy and complicated regulatory procedures. With our truck, these hurdles would be significantly reduced, as it resembles a municipal vehicle and is therefore better suited for urban environments," Herrenknecht's Axel Langer told New Atlas.

In non-urban areas, geothermal energy development is easier to accomplish, as evidenced by the first-of-its-kind enhanced geothermal plant that Google co-developed in Nevada and Utah, which recently began operations.

However, cities need a lot of energy to keep running and to divest from dirty energy sources like gas and oil that cause massive air pollution and decrease residents' quality of life, it makes sense to explore all clean energy options.

According to the Department of Energy, while current geothermal contribution to U.S. energy capacity is less than 1%, that number could grow to more than 8% by 2050.

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