High-pressure equipment for efficient deep geothermal drilling

21 November 2019

Fonroche Géothermie is a leading company in high-temperature geothermal projects in the French energy market. One of their major deep geothermal projects is for the Eurometropolis area of Strasbourg, France. The objective? To build 3 geothermal power plants (for co-generation of electricity and heating), each capable of producing 10 MW electric and 40 MW thermal energy that will ultimately provide 50% of the community’s heating needs.

Green energy

Geothermal science makes it possible to exploit the reserves of naturally hot water present deep in the earth. Fonroche is expert in all stages of deep geothermal projects, which produce renewable electricity and supply networks with hot water.

Digging deep

In order to access the geothermal reserves, two deep boreholes – each more than 5000 meters into the earth – needed to be drilled. Drilling that deep requires high-pressure compressed air to test the wells and put them into production. And that’s why Fonroche contacted Atlas Copco Rental to rent the highest performance equipment possible.

The solution

Fonroche and Atlas Copco Rental put their heads together to develop a solution that is responsive, adaptable and efficient at the same time. Atlas Copco Rental provided the following system:
  • 2 units of the new DrillAir Y35 high-pressure compressors (0 – 35 bar, up to 45 m³/min flow) with 2 additional tanks for Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF), which is also commonly known as AdBlue.
  • 1 unit of the new B18 high-pressure booster (with a maximum working pressure of 100 bar single stage or 207 bar dual stage) – working at 90 bar at Fonroche
  • 3 GNR FT5500 fuel tanks (equipped with telemetry fuel-level sensors)
Our Y35 oil-injected air compressors are specifically designed to support drilling equipment. Drilling with a pressure of 35 bar enables more meters to be drilled per hour, with lower overall costs per meter. With these compressors, drilling depths can reach 500 meters per day. To boost the Y35 compressor’s 35 bar capacity up to 90 bar, we added an additional B18 high-pressure booster – a stable, reliable and efficient booster, ideal for geothermal drilling. This complete technical solution went far beyond the rental of equipment. It included support and assistance by an Atlas Copco Rental technician specialized in high pressure equipment, who helped the customer operate the equipment on-site. Thus, we were able to quickly provide the most suitable total solution.

Satisfied customer

Atlas Copco Rental not only provides the latest, most effective equipment but total solutions for major projects such as this one. Our equipment and personnel enabled Fonroche Géothermie to modulate the compressed air pressure during the drilling operations. This then enabled the company to perform very smooth-running production tests. Atlas Copco also demonstrated its ability to flexibly adapt to project schedule changes that were necessary for the optimal performance of the wells.

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At Atlas Copco, we have been turning industrial ideas into business-critical benefits since 1873. By listening to our customers and knowing their needs, we deliver value and innovate with the future in mind. Great ideas reinforce sustainable development. At Atlas Copco Specialty Rental, we team up with our customers to set up state-of-the-art temporary air, flow, steam and nitrogen solutions. Our passionate experts have extensive application and equipment knowledge. We understand our customers' needs and can provide a total solution for any industry, no matter if it is for emergencies or planned projects. We are a division of the Power Technique business area, headquartered in Boom, Belgium and offer specialty rental solutions under several brands around the globe.