Atlas Copco Rental's nitrogen generator reduces back pressure in Dutch geothermal well

Atlas Copco Rental Europe extended over the last years its rental fleet with Nitrogen Generators. The range covers different flows and purities in order to cover a wide range of customer requests and applications. One of the latest models is the NGM280, a unit which uses the membrane technology to separate gases by selective permeation across the membrane wall. The NGM280 is designed and manufactured in the Atlas Copco Airpower factory in Wilrijk and is the biggest model in the NGM-range. The rental units are foreseen of a lifting frame to protect the unit and to improve handling.

10 jun 2012

The Hague, a CO2 neutral city Early April Atlas Copco Rental Europe was contacted by IF Technology, a Dutch leading geothermal energy consultancy and engineering company. One of their geothermal projects is situated in the center of The Hague, Netherlands, where 4.000 homes will soon enjoy renewable geothermal heating. This is an example of how to reduce the CO2 emissions of The Hague drastically in the future. It is the Municipality of The Hague’s objective of being a CO2 neutral city by 2040.

Building a Geothermal power station will help to achieve this target. This geothermal heat project is unique in the Netherlands because geothermal heat has not previously been used for heating hundreds of homes and companies via floor or wall heating. How does it work? The goal of this geothermal project is to pump hot water (75°C) out of a 2.0 km deep layer and use this to heat newly build houses and offices in a very sustainable way. The heat in the earth's crust is inexhaustible and very reliable. The extracted water however needs to be injected back into the earth at a different location but at a similar depth.

Tests showed that the injection required more pressure than expected. Therefore they planned to clean the injectors and the reservoir in order to save energy further down in the process. Goal was to lower the final injection pressure. Each reduction of 1 bar would save around 4.000€/year. The more cost efficient this well is, the more competitive this technology will become in the future.

IF Technology asked for our assistance during the cleaning of the well by pressurizing the well and later flushing it. As a second step they cleaned the well by pumping chemicals and water into the well to dissolve iron compounds and calcite. Nitrogen is then injected into the well and created a gas lift which is a mixture of nitrogen , water and dirt moving up towards the surface.

Nitrogen is required to avoid explosions as the water could contain methane. Safety and sound attenuation were crucial aspects from the first meeting on with the project team. Rental equipment Atlas Copco Rental delivered the necessary electrical driven oil-free air compressor, nitrogen generator, power generator and air receivers for several weeks. The complete set was trailer mounted.The maximum oxygen level never surpassed 8%, enough to avoid any explosions in case of methane escaping from the well. The Atlas Copco Rental oil-free air booster at site was able to boost air or nitrogen to pressures of upto 40 bar (580psi).

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Atlas Copco is a world-leading provider of sustainable productivity solutions. The Group serves customers with innovative compressors, vacuum solutions and air treatment systems, construction and mining equipment, power tools and assembly systems. Atlas Copco develops products and service focused on productivity, energy efficiency, safety and ergonomics. The company was founded in 1873, is based in Stockholm, Sweden, and has a global reach spanning more than 180 countries. In 2015, Atlas Copco had revenues of BSEK 102 (BEUR 11) and more than 43 000 employees.

Specialty Rental is a division within Atlas Copco’s Construction Technique business area. It serves customers in the industry segments around the world with temporary air, nitrogen, steam and power rental solutions. The specialty rental services are offered under several brands. The divisional headquarters is located in Houston, USA.