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

Updated 19 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 19,655,445 — Total deaths: 727,353 — Total recoveries — 11,950,845Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 4,998,802 — Total deaths: 162,425 — Total recoveries: 1,643,118 — Total tests: 61,080,587Map.
  3. Politics: Trump signs 4 executive actions on coronavirus aid — Democrats, and some Republicans, criticize the move.
  4. Public health: Fauci says chances are "not great" that COVID-19 vaccine will be 98% effective — 1 in 3 Americans would decline COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Science: Indoor air is the next coronavirus frontline.
  6. Schools: How back-to-school is playing out in the South as coronavirus rages on — Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Howard to hold fall classes online.

Elevator anxiety will stifle reopenings

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Will you step back into an elevator any time soon?

Why it matters: Tens of billions of dollars — and the future of cities around the country — rest on the answer to that question. So long as workers remain unwilling to take elevators, hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of office real estate will continue to go largely unused.

Updated 6 hours ago - World

Brazil coronavirus death toll tops 100,000 and case numbers surpass 3 million

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro posted a photo of himself to Facebook congratulating his soccer team, Palmeiras, for winning the state title Saturday, moments after the health ministry confirmed the national COVID-19 death toll had surpassed 100,000.

Why it matters: Brazil is only the second country to confirm more than 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus. On Sunday morning, it became the second country to surpass 3 million cases, per Johns Hopkins. Only the U.S. has reported more. Bolsonaro has yet to address the milestones. He has previously tested positive for COVID-19 three times, but he's downplayed the impact of the virus, which has crippled Brazil's economy.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with the latest coronavirus case numbers and more context.