Navy to U.S.: Geothermal Drill Baby, Drill  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

TPM has a post on an improved drilling bit for geothermal energy exploration - Navy to U.S.: Geothermal Drill Baby, Drill.

The U.S. Navy has teamed up with the Department of Energy’s Sandia National Laboratory to revive decades-old technology for a high performance drill bit, only they don’t have drilling for oil or gas in mind. The drill bit, called a polycrystalline diamond compact bit, is being retested evaluated and improved to help lower the cost of drilling for geothermal energy.

The mashup of the Navy with the development of high efficiency geothermal drilling technology is a natural one, given that the Navy has been investigating geothermal energy for decades, and the Navy’s Air Weapons Station China Lake research facility in California is the site of a major geothermal power plant that has been in operation for 15 years.

As a whole, in recent years the Department of Defense has ramped up its pursuit of geothermal energy and other forms of locally generated energy such as solar power, wind and biogas in order to unchain U.S. national defense facilities from reliance on grid-supplied sources.

Ironically, Sandia originally helped to develop polycrystalline diamond compact (PDC) technology about 30 years ago specifically to help the geothermal industry cut costs. However, given the industry’s small size at the time, there were relatively few opportunities to refine the technology in practice, so the oil and gas industry picked up the ball and ran with it.

PDC technology is based on a process called sintering, which involves fabricating objects from powders. According to Sandia’s press materials:
“Polycrystalline diamond compact cutters on the cutting faces of bits allow more aggressive drilling than bits traditionally used for geothermal drilling. They are created by a sintering process. Graphite powder is applied to the leading face of a cutter made of tungsten carbide. The material assembly is compressed in three directions at pressures of 1 million pounds per square inch. When heated to a transition temperature, the graphite converts a to a 1-millimeter layer of synthetic diamond.”
Since oil and gas drilling generally takes place in sedimentary rock, which is relatively softer and cool, commercially available PDC bits still haven’t been fully tested and developed for geothermal drilling.

Geothermal drilling generally involves much more complicated conditions than found in oil and gas fields. Aside from involving higher temperatures and greater depths, geothermal drilling typically occurs in igneous and metamorphic rock, which is much harder and contains abrasive materials such as quartz. Fracturing in these formations also creates sudden changes in conditions that can damage the drill.

0 comments

Post a Comment

Statistics

Locations of visitors to this page

blogspot visitor
Stat Counter

Total Pageviews

Ads

Books

Followers

Blog Archive

Labels

australia (604) global warming (381) solar power (365) peak oil (335) renewable energy (228) electric vehicles (210) wind power (181) ocean energy (160) csp (153) geothermal energy (143) solar thermal power (140) smart grids (139) tidal power (135) coal seam gas (129) nuclear power (125) oil (123) energy storage (122) solar pv (119) lng (114) geothermal power (112) china (111) iraq (111) green buildings (107) natural gas (106) agriculture (87) oil price (79) biofuel (77) smart meters (72) wave power (70) electricity grid (66) uk (66) energy efficiency (63) coal (57) google (57) internet (51) bicycle (49) shale gas (49) surveillance (49) food prices (48) big brother (47) thin film solar (42) canada (40) biomimicry (39) scotland (38) ocean power (37) politics (37) new zealand (35) shale oil (35) air transport (34) algae (34) water (34) concentrating solar power (32) queensland (32) california (31) credit crunch (31) saudi arabia (31) bioplastic (30) offshore wind power (29) population (29) tesla (29) cogeneration (28) geoengineering (28) arctic ice (26) batteries (26) drought (26) resource wars (26) woodside (26) bruce sterling (25) censorship (25) cleantech (25) ctl (23) economics (22) limits to growth (21) carbon tax (20) coal to liquids (20) distributed manufacturing (20) indonesia (20) iraq oil law (20) lithium (20) origin energy (20) brightsource (19) buckminster fuller (19) rail transport (19) ultracapacitor (19) santos (18) ausra (17) exxon (17) michael klare (17) cellulosic ethanol (16) collapse (16) electric bikes (16) mapping (16) ucg (16) atlantis (15) bees (15) concentrating solar thermal power (15) ethanol (15) geodynamics (15) iceland (15) psychology (15) brazil (14) fertiliser (14) lithium ion batteries (14) al gore (13) ambient energy (13) biodiesel (13) bucky fuller (13) carbon emissions (13) cities (13) investment (13) kenya (13) matthew simmons (13) public transport (13) biochar (12) chile (12) internet of things (12) otec (12) texas (12) victoria (12) cradle to cradle (11) desertec (11) energy policy (11) hybrid car (11) terra preta (11) amory lovins (10) fabber (10) gazprom (10) goldman sachs (10) gtl (10) severn estuary (10) tinfoil (10) toyota (10) volt (10) afghanistan (9) alaska (9) biomass (9) carbon trading (9) distributed generation (9) esolar (9) four day week (9) fuel cells (9) jeremy leggett (9) pge (9) sweden (9) antarctica (8) arrow energy (8) big oil (8) eroei (8) fish (8) floating offshore wind power (8) guerilla gardening (8) linc energy (8) methane (8) methane hydrates (8) nanosolar (8) natural gas pipelines (8) pentland firth (8) relocalisation (8) saul griffith (8) stirling engine (8) us elections (8) western australia (8) airborne wind turbines (7) bloom energy (7) boeing (7) bolivia (7) chp (7) climategate (7) copenhagen (7) vinod khosla (7) apocaphilia (6) ceramic fuel cells (6) cigs (6) futurism (6) jatropha (6) local currencies (6) nigeria (6) ocean acidification (6) scenario planning (6) somalia (6) t boone pickens (6) space based solar power (5) varanus island (5) garbage (4) global energy grid (4) kevin kelly (4) low temperature geothermal power (4) oled (4) tim flannery (4) v2g (4) club of rome (3) norman borlaug (2) peak oil portfolio (1)