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The pressure of geothermal drilling

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Geothermal science makes it possible to exploit the reserves of naturally hot water present deep in the earth. Multi-MW power plants are being built all across Europe to support local communities and industries. However, before building can begin, we have to go down. Way down into the earth.

Going deeper underground

One of our planet’s non-polluting energy sources is found in the ground. Regardless of weather conditions or day/night cycles, this source is always available. Rainwater seeps through the earth’s surface and collects in vast reservoirs. The heat coming from the earth’s core heats the water in those reservoirs.

Many parallels can be drawn with the Oil & Gas Industry, which is why many companies active in this sector are diversifying to geothermal drilling. Geothermal drilling can be divided into two categories. Near-surface geothermal (up to 400m deep) and deep geothermal (exceeding 400m). The latter is capable of delivering high temperatures necessary for electricity production and district heating and reaches depths of up to (or down to) 10km.

In essence, steam from underground reservoirs, via a piping system, enter turbines and powers the generators. Which, in turn, supplies electricity to the grid. The steam condenses into water and is piped back into the earth via an injection well to continue the cycle.

Our Y35 oil-injected air compressors are specifically designed to support drilling equipment and geothermal drilling projects. 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. The Y35’s engine reduces particle emissions and NOx content by 50–96% more than previous models. It also consumes significantly less fuel and can provide air for various industrial uses while maintaining optimal efficiency regardless of streaming speed. To boost the Y35 compressor’s 35 bar capacity up to 207 bar, we can add the B18 high-pressure booster – a stable, reliable and efficient booster, ideal for geothermal drilling.

By decreasing fuel consumptions of our diesel-driven equipment and increasing their performance, Atlas Copco Rental can assist in further optimizing the operational footprint of drilling projects.

Want to learn more about the Y35 and how it performs in the field? Have a look at these Customer Stories from France and Finland. The Y35 is also available for offshore applications.