How Dandelion is making geothermal heating affordable

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Millions of US citizens still use oil and natural gas to heat their homes during the winter. Many would like to switch to geothermal, a cleaner and ultimately cheaper system that leverages the natural temperature of the earth. A few feet below the surface, the soil sits at a reliable 50- to 60-degree Fahrenheit all year round. Pipes known as 'ground loops' push round a special antifreeze solution that absorbs this constant temperature in winter and disperses unwanted warmth in the summer. A large indoor heat pump uses the mixture to boil a refrigerant fluid; the resulting gas is then compressed to higher temperatures and distributed around the home.

Installing the necessary equipment is expensive, however. Dandelion, a company that started inside Alphabet's X division, is trying to make geothermal cheaper and easier to install. While not the most eye-catching technology, especially compared to electric cars and sea-cooled data centers, it's arguably one of the most important for the environment.

(Read more on Engadget)