Impact Technologies of Tulsa/ Oklahoma exploring new drilling technology
Impact Technologies receives US$2.4 million DOE Funding for its cutting edge of geothermal drilling and research. The technology involves drilling holes 30,000 feet into the Earth and tapping the heat from rocks that are as hot as 572 degrees.
In a local article, Ken Oglesby and his Tulsa/ Oklahoma-based IMPACT Technologies LLC are introduced.
According to the article the company is “on the cutting edge of geothermal drilling and research. The technology involves drilling holes 30,000 feet into the Earth and tapping the heat from rocks that are as hot as 572 degrees.
“The goal is to get many megawatts at each site,” said Oglesby, who has been working in drilling research for about 30 years for companies such as Chevron Corp.
Last week Oglesby learned that his company will get a $2.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy aimed at developing new drilling technology.
The grant was among $338 million in DOE awards that came as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 — the $787 billion economic stimulus package. The funding law also includes money for other green technologies such as high-speed commuter rail and electric cars.
Specifically, Impact Technologies’ grant gives the company money to research the drilling of the 30,000-foot holes.
“The conditions that deep are much different than they are at shallower levels,” Oglesby said. “It’s so hot, and the models say there is something like 15,000 pounds per square inch of pressure.”
Impact Technologies’ plan is to drill small holes, just an inch or two in diameter, but that is complicated by the heat and pressure.
“We have to figure out what kind of materials we need for the drills and the pipes, fluids and everything you need to drill,” Oglesby said.
Instead of using drills to crush and grind rocks and soil, Impact Technologies’ equipment shoots abrasive particles at high velocities to erode its way down. Oglesby said the technology is faster and more powerful than current techniques.
The company has six employees who design, patent and build prototypes for drilling rigs. The DOE grant will last three years and be used to test the project, which Oglesby said is about 15 years old.
“We’ve already spent about $4 million testing this, so this will cover about half of what we’ve done so far,” he said.
The deep drilling, or Enhanced Geothermal Systems, will likely be used in industrial settings and for power plants. Eventually, however, Oglesby said he hopes to set up a company to develop geothermal units for individual residential homes.”