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Paul Sakuma / AP

Google parent Alphabet's research and development division spun off a project Thursday that aims to make geothermal energy an easier lift for consumers.

The product: Geothermal systems require putting pipes in the ground to take advantage of the different temperature above and below ground to heat or cool a building. The company, called Dandelion, says it has developed a "a fast, slender drill" that "could drill just one or two deep holes just a few inches wide, and compared to typical installation rigs, it produced less waste and took up much less space as it operated."

Installing the system will cost $20,000, according to the company, which is setting up financing for customers. It'll be available first to customers in parts of New York state.

Nitty gritty: While this project began life as part of X, a "moonshot" incubator for Alphabet, Dandelion is an independent company with a seed funding round led by Collaborative Fund. X spokeswoman Alexa Dennett said that "X seeded Dandelion by starting it at X" but declined to say if Alphabet has a stake in the geothermal company.

"X has always supported a variety of graduation paths for its projects, including setting up as a VC-funded startup like Flux.io did in 2012," she said, when asked why the company wasn't kept under Alphabet, as in the case of self-driving outfit Waymo. "The Dandelion team's business and technology needs are very different than most teams across Alphabet, so from their perspective the benefits of being an independent company were greater than the benefits of staying."

Go deeper

Kaine, Collins' censure resolution seeks to bar Trump from holding office again

Sen. Tim Kaine (center) and Sen. Susan Collins (right). Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) are forging ahead with a draft proposal to censure former President Trump, and are considering introducing the resolution on the Senate floor next week.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction, Axios Alayna Treene writes. "I think it’s important for the Senate's leadership to understand that there are alternatives," Kaine told CNN on Wednesday.

Stark reminder for America's corporate leaders

Rosalind "Roz" Brewer is about to become only the second Black woman to permanently lead a Fortune 500 company. She starts as Walgreens CEO on March 15.

Why it matters: It's a stark reminder of how far corporate America's top decision-makers have to go during an unprecedented push by politicians, employees and even a stock exchange to diversify their top ranks.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Updated 3 hours ago - Technology

Apple's quarterly sales top $100 billion for first time

Credit: Apple

Spurred by strong sales of the latest iPhones, Apple reported it took in a record $111 billion in revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31, as the company crushed expectations.

Why it matters: The move showed even a pandemic didn't dull demand for Apple's latest smartphones.