Arturo Alcaraz “Father of Geothermal Energy”

arturo alcaraz
Arturo Alcaraz (Father of Geothermal Energy) | Lahi |


Arturo Alcaraz is considered as the Father of Geothermal Energy in the Philippines.

He graduated at the top of his class from Baguio City High School in 1933. But there was no school of mining in the Philippines, so he entered the College of Engineering, University of the Philippines in Manila. A year later–when Mapua Institute of Technology, also in Manila, offered a degree in mining engineering–Alcaraz transferred there and received his Bachelor of Science in Mining Engineering from Mapua in 1937.(thoughtco)

After graduation, he received an offer from the Philippines Bureau of Mines as an aide in the geology division, which he accepted. A year after he began his job at the Bureau of Mines, he won a government scholarship to continue his education and training. He went to Madison Wisconsin, where he attended the University of Wisconsin and earned a Master of Science in Geology in 1941.

Arturo Alcaraz won the prestigious IBM Science and Technology Award.

He explored the possibility of using geothermal steam to power homes and industries. He succeeded in 1967.

On July 9, 1985, Arturo Pineda Alcaraz, a volcanologist and acknowledged “father of geothermal energy” won the IBM Science and Technology Award.

Alcaraz, who earned his Masters of Science degree in Geology at the University of Wisconsin in the United States as a government scholar, pioneered in generating electricity by means of geothermal steam among areas proximate to volcanoes.

With a vast and extensive knowledge of volcanoes in the Philippines, Alcaraz explored the possibility of harnessing geothermal steam to produce energy. He succeeded in 1967 when the country’s first geothermal plant produced much-needed electricity, ushering the era of geothermal-based energy to power up homes and industries.

In 1951 when the Commission on Volcanology was officially created under the National Research Council, Alcaraz was appointed Chief Volcanologist, a post he held until 1974.

Along with his colleagues, he was able to set up a working model in Tiwi, Albay. He was also able to prove that energy can be generated by geothermal energy.

Steam from a one-inch hole drilled 400 feet to the ground powered a turbogenerator that lighted up a light bulb. It was a milestone in the Philippines’ quest for energy self-sufficiency. Thus, Alcaraz carved his name in the global field of Geothermal Energy and Mining.

Alcaraz was the 1982 Ramon Magsaysay Award recipient for government service for his scientific insight and selfless perseverance in guiding Filipinos to understand and use one of their greatest natural resources.