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Nextdrill research project developing drilling tools for EGS

Vanguard Geothermal Drill Bits, Baker Huges (source: Baker Hughes)
Francisco Rojas 18 Jun 2014

The Nextdrill project, a partnership between SINTEF, Sandvik and Starck are trying to create a better and longer lasting drill bit.

In order to provide better geothermal solutions, better equipment is needed and in this case, drilling is a key and integral part of said sucess.

In an article from Science Daily, it is stated that the immediate aim is to drill wells to depths of five to six kilometres, where one can encounter temperatures that are high enough to allow the heat to be used for district heating and electricity generation. according to SINTEF’s research scientist Alexandre Kane.

The Nextdrill project is a response to this challenge. Three of its members — SINTEF, the Swedish company Sandvik and Germany’s H.C. Starck — are collaborating on the development of materials for a drill-bit with a long working life.

Another participant is the Norwegian technology company Resonator, which is in the process of developing an electric percussion rotary drill, a tool that crushes rock by dealing it hammer-like blows as the drill-bit turns. Electrical operation offers the possibility of remote control and more energy-efficient drilling systems than technology based on today’s pneumatic or hydraulic systems. First test in August In the course of this year the Nextdrill project will carry out its first small-scale drilling trials near Ås in Akershus County. In August and again in November, a specially designed version of Resonator’s percussion rotary drill will tackle hard rock. It will be fitted in turn with commercially available drill-bits and bits made of the highly wear-resistant materials that are being developed by the project.

These trials have two main purposes. They will provide new knowledge about how wear occurs on drill-bits when rock is crushed using an electric percussion rotary drill. The tests will also show how the number of impacts per unit time affects the speed of drilling.

“Although we will not be drilling very deep during these tests we do °expect to gather important data for the next stages of our efforts to develop highly durable materials,” says Kane.

Source: Science Daily Website