By Kathleen McDonald
A group of Navajo entrepreneurs in Tohatchi have had their eye on the business potential of an oil-exploration well drilled in the 1950s, but they’re not considering fossil fuel production. The well produces water heated by hidden deep geologic processes. As a geothermal energy source, the well might help power the group’s plans to create a long-term food-water-energy nexus on the Navajo Nation, stimulating the local economy while helping New Mexico transition to a carbon-free energy portfolio.
The entrepreneurs envision the natural hot water and the cooler water resources nearby for filling hot tubs for a spa resort, heating and irrigating greenhouses for food production, and providing water and energy in tandem with solar energy to produce cutting-edge “green” hydrogen. The project lines up with increased interest from national and state leaders and private industry, who want to develop hydrogen as a clean, carbon-free and plentiful energy source for the transportation industry and as a re-electrification energy strategy.
But the team at Tosidoh LLC, a Navajo-owned, veteran-owned private small business operating and managing on the Navajo Nation, needed to know more about the geothermal resource. Tosidoh had many years of data from 43 wells in the area, recording essential information like the water’s temperature, acidity and mineral content. But how much water was hidden underground, and how hot was it?
Read the rest of the story as it appeared in the Santa Fe New Mexican.