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Addressing the climate crisis with drilling technology being developed in Slovakia

GA Drilling PLASMABIT technology (source: GA Drilling)
Alexander Richter 3 Oct 2019

The goal of GA Drilling, a Slovakia-based technology company, is to develop PLASMABIT technology, with the goal to make geothermal energy available so far unavailable due to the extreme depths in which it is located.

GA Drilling appeared in geothermal circles back around 2008 or so, from what I remember the GA stands for “Geothermal Anywhere”.  The idea by the founders was to find ways to help deep geothermal energy resources to be utilised for energy generation.

Drilling was seen as a key element to allow for wider application of geothermal energy utilisation. Last week, the company shared a good overview it created in conjunction with a European Researchers’ Night in Bratislava/ Slovakia, the home country of GA Drilling. Fantastic to see the company pushing forward on its technology that could have a huge impact on driving down drilling costs and make deeper geothermal resources accessible for development.

The goal of GA Drilling, which is developing PLASMABIT technology, is to make geothermal energy available so far unavailable due to the extreme depths in which it is located. Replacing fossil fuels with a more environmentally friendly alternative has been a topic for several years. While solar and wind renewable energy or batteries are growing in popularity, energy from the depths of the earth still has a minimal share in the energy mix. It is not yet available enough to enable humanity to realize its potential. Technology that can change it and make geothermal energy available anywhere in the world is being developed in Slovakia.

The way from laboratories to reality

PLASMABIT non-contact drilling and milling technology, which is unprecedented in the world, has come a long way of developing and finding the right concept. Several generations of prototypes and previously non-existent plasma physics textbooks with unique know-how were created. PLASMABIT currently has 23 patents and its application of plasma milling is in the pre-market testing phase.

“So far, we have tested the technology in simulated high pressure and temperature conditions, which are within a few kilometers. After our concept was officially confirmed as feasible, we still had to meet the qualification requirements, including strict safety and procedural standards. This opened the door to a service agreement with the well operator and we are currently preparing tests under real conditions. We will proceed in a similar way when launching plasma drilling technology to the market, ”Matus Gajdos, head of the Research and Development Department of GA Drilling , explained the level of technological readiness of the technology .

Hydrocarbon independence as well as the path to drinking water

Although we are unaware of this, the largest battery in the world is the planet Earth. The energy hidden beneath its surface is clean and safe. The operation of the geothermal power plant is quiet and emission-free, so it can also be built close to towns and dwellings. Geothermal energy is suitable for energy production, up to heating in residential areas. Its wide use is also known in agriculture and food processing. It can also be used to produce the cleanest fuel, hydrogen, and is a source of energy for seawater desalination for areas with insufficient drinking water supplies.

>Unlike other renewable energy sources, geothermal energy is not weather dependent. Its availability does not limit day-to-night alternation or weather. It is 24/7/365 energy, its only barrier today is the depth at which it is found on most of the earth’s surface.

Iceland anywhere in the world?

A well-known example that is a great inspiration for GA Drilling is Iceland, a land on a tectonic fracture where temperatures are between three and four hundred degrees Celsius only two to three kilometers across the surface of the earth. Iceland is a world leader in the use of geothermal energy for heating. The share of electricity generated from geothermal energy in Iceland is up to 25%. The total share of geothermal energy in the country’s energy production is up to sixty-six percent.

Elsewhere in the world, it is much more demanding to drive it through a source of geothermal energy. Sufficient temperatures for generating energy from geothermal sources are available at a depth of five kilometers below three percent of the earth’s surface. However, the geothermal map looks much more interesting at depths of up to ten kilometers – here temperatures of three hundred degrees and above are available below 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, with significant deposits at almost all continents (except Antarctica), including many European countries.

“Our technology is a solution for unprofitable deep boreholes precisely because it is contactless. This means that there is no mechanical wear on the device. The entire drilling process is faster and smoother even in the hardest rocks, and will therefore significantly save the environment and costs – up to thirty to fifty percent. The plasma arc generated by the device disrupts any rock, and it breaks up into tiny particles that we can handle much easier in a borehole than with large rock fragments resulting from conventional rotary drilling, ” Matus Gajdos explains the benefits of the plasma drilling principle.

Source: GA Drilling