Atlas Copco portable air compressors for geothermal drilling applications

Compressed air for drilling for geothermal energy

Geothermal energy is becoming an increasingly popular means of reducing carbon emissions and transitioning to cleaner energy sources. It is used to power a turbine and generate electricity or directly for heating and cooling purposes. To access hot water or steam in the Earth's interior requires drilling deep wells.

How does Atlas Copco drive productivity and efficiency in geothermal drilling?

Improved drilling efficiency

Drilling is a tough business. By drilling faster your revenues grow. Our portable DrillAir compressors are designed to enhance the productivity and efficiency in drilling operations.

Greater flexibility

When it comes to efficient drilling, there's hardly all-in-one solution. But Atlas Copco is here to provide you with flexibility to adapt to changing conditions while still delivering the greatest efficiency.

Cost savings

Investing in high-quality portable air compressors can help businesses save money in the long run. Compressors can reduce fuel consumption, minimize maintenance and repair costs, which can all add up to significant savings over time.

What is the role of air compressors among geothermal drilling equipment?

Among other geothermal drilling equipment air compressors are used to power drilling tools, clean the borehole, and remove debris from the hole. They are also used to supply air to the downhole hammer, which is used to break up hard rock formations.

Geothermal drilling requires the use of high-pressure air, and portable air compressors are used to generate this air pressure. The compressors are typically mounted on a truck or trailer, making them easy to transport to different drilling locations.

Air compressor supplies air to the drill bit and downhole hammer, which helps to power the drilling operation. As the drilling progresses, the air compressor also helps to remove rock cuttings from the hole. It prevents them from clogging the drill bit and reducing drilling efficiency.

In addition to drilling operations, portable air compressors are also used to power other equipment and tools used in geothermal installations.

How to choose right portable air compressor for your needs?

Selecting an appropriate portable air compressor for geothermal drilling is essential. There are three primary elements to consider: air flow rate, pressure rating, and power source. The air flow required for your project will depend on factors such as drilling depth, rock hardness and drilling speed. 

Choose a portable air compressor that is compact and easy to transport, with features such as wheels and lifting points. Consider the size of the drilling site and the ease of maneuvering the compressor around the site.

You can always consult our experts for advice.

What sets Atlas Copco's portable compressors portfolio for drilling apart from other offerings?

You can get up to 10% additional flow when flushing and during stem refills thanks to Dynamic Flow Boost technology

Drilling efficiency matters
Atlas Copco's portable air compressors for drilling applications are carefully designed to get the job done faster. Drilling with 30-35 bar high pressure compressor allows you to drill more meters in an hour with a lower overall cost per meter. You can get up to 10% additional flow when flushing and during stem refills thanks to Dynamic Flow Boost. That means faster flushing and refilling and a shorter time to finish the drilling job.

Accurate electronic positioning of the inlet valve ensures immediate response to changes in air consumption or pressure

Great flexibility and no compromises
Our DrillAir range is designed with versatility in mind. It gives our customers opportunity to choose a product which is right for their core business and provides with flexibility to adapt to changes and applications. With AirXpert technology, you get maximum air flow at any pressure settings. Accurate electronic positioning of the inlet valve ensures immediate response to changes in air consumption or pressure.

Atlas Copco portable air compressors for geothermal drilling have excellent fuel and energy efficiency

Consider total cost of ownership
The DrillAir range has specially designed features to ensure a higher residual value, thus reducing depreciation costs. Our portable air compressors have excellent fuel and energy efficiency, enabled by hardware and software that contribute to optimized consumption. Intelligent design helps to reduce machine downtime resulting in lower operating costs. Add to that high-quality, longer-lasting consumables and extended service intervals.

Atlas Copco's portfolio includes portable air compressors, both diesel and electrical powered

The decision whether to use an electric or diesel powered air compressor depends mostly on the on-site availability of a reliable power source. In situations where there is no electricity or frequent power outages, a diesel powered air compressor is probably the best option. Atlas Copco ensures that our diesel air compressors are highly energy efficient and comply with the latest environmental regulations.

An electrical air compressor offers more flexibility if you have access to a reliable power source. It will certainly contribute to sustainable operation and reduced environmental impact. No emissions are produced, and noise levels are very low. Atlas Copco electric air compressors with VSD technology are game-changing when it comes to performance and energy efficiency.

Customer story: Drilling for Renewable Energy in Sweden

The Swedish company T.A. Brunnsborrning specializes in drilling and uses large mobile high-pressure compressors for its operations. But use of diesel is on its way out of Sweden, one of the Scandinavian countries stepping up the fight against climate change. Fortunately, all Atlas Copco Stage V engines are certified to run on HVO, a clean, fossil-free and carbon-neutral fuel.

The most recent machine we have acquired is a Y35. It’s a Stage V machine which we can refuel with HVO diesel. That’s much better for the climate and we’re happy to contribute with the latest technology

Thomas Apelgårdh , Founder and owner of T.A. Brunnsborrning & VVS



Basics to know about geothermal drilling

What is geothermal drilling?

Geothermal drilling is the process of drilling deep into the Earth's crust. This is done to access the heat stored within. The heat can be used to generate electricity or for heating and cooling purposes. 


1.    Geothermal wells are typically drilled to depths of 450 to 3,000 meters (1,500 to 10,000 feet) or more, depending on the location and the geothermal resource.

2.    Geothermal drilling involves using a drill rig to drill a hole into the Earth's crust, and then installing a well casing to protect the well from collapse.

3.    Once the well casing is installed, a geothermal heat exchanger is inserted into the well. This heat exchanger is typically a series of pipes that are used to circulate a fluid (usually water) through the well and transfer heat to the surface.

4.    The fluid is pumped down into the well and heated by the hot rocks and fluids deep within the Earth. It then flows back up to the surface, where its heat is extracted and used for various purposes.

5.    Geothermal drilling can be divided into two main types: conventional geothermal drilling and enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) drilling.

How does geothermal drilling impact the environment?

Geothermal drilling can have both positive and negative effects on the environment, depending on how it is conducted. The primary environmental concerns associated with geothermal drilling are related to the extraction of geothermal fluids, which can potentially impact local water resources and cause land subsidence.

To address these concerns, there are several regulations and best practices in place to ensure sustainable geothermal drilling practices.


1.    Water Resource Management: Geothermal drilling operations can impact local water resources. So regulations are in place to manage the use and disposal of geothermal fluids. For example, some jurisdictions require permits for water usage and mandate the recycling or reinjection of geothermal fluids.

2.    Land Use Planning: Geothermal drilling operations can also impact land use and natural habitats. Regulations are in place to ensure that drilling operations are conducted in areas that are suitable for geothermal development and to minimize impacts on sensitive ecosystems.

3.    Monitoring and Reporting: Geothermal drilling operations are subject to monitoring and reporting requirements to ensure compliance with environmental regulations. This includes monitoring of geothermal fluid quality, air emissions, and noise levels.

4.    Best Practices: Such as using closed-loop geothermal systems, minimizing land disturbance, and implementing erosion and sediment control measures.


There are regulations and best practices in place to ensure that geothermal drilling operations are conducted in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner.

What are the most advanced technologies in geothermal drilling?

Geothermal drilling is a field that requires advanced technologies to access and harness the heat from the Earth's interior. 


1.    Directional Drilling: Directional drilling technology allows geothermal wells to be drilled at an angle, which can increase the amount of surface area that is exposed to the geothermal reservoir. This technology can also be used to steer the well towards areas with higher temperatures and better flow rates.

2.    Rotary Drilling is a common drilling technique used in geothermal drilling. It involves the use of a rotary drill bit to bore a hole into the Earth's crust. This technology has been refined over many decades, and modern rotary drilling rigs are capable of drilling to significant depths.

3.    Logging Tools are used in geothermal drilling to measure properties such as temperature, pressure, and fluid flow rates within the well. These tools can provide valuable data to help geologists and engineers understand the characteristics of the geothermal reservoir.

4.    Casing and Cementing technology is used to create a secure and watertight seal around the geothermal well. This technology involves the installation of steel casing and the injection of cement into the annulus between the casing and the borehole wall.

5.    Enhanced Geothermal Systems technology involves the creation of a geothermal reservoir in areas where there is not naturally occurring geothermal activity. This technology involves the injection of water into the borehole at high pressure, which can create fractures in the rock and increase the surface area of the reservoir.

6.    Microseismic Monitoring technology is used to monitor the small earthquakes that occur during geothermal drilling and production. This technology can provide valuable information about the characteristics of the geothermal reservoir and can help to optimize the drilling and production process.




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