Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Science & Technology: Project to Drill 16,000 Foot Borehole in Crystalline Rock Could Help Geothermal Energy Research

Energy Department selects Battelle team for a deep borehole field test in North Dakota (DoE)

The U.S. Department of Energy has selected a Battelle Memorial Institute-led team to drill a test borehole of over 16,000 feet into a crystalline basement rock formation near Rugby, North Dakota. This is an important step in exploring the science needed for utilization of deep boreholes in crystalline rock formations. One of the most promising applications is the potential for disposal of certain types of high-level radioactive wastes; another could be geothermal energy development. The field test will provide insights into crosscutting subsurface science and engineering challenges such as drilling techniques, wellbore stability and sealing, and subsurface characterization.

Determining the feasibility of deep borehole disposal is the goal of the DOE’s estimated $35 million, five-year project on approximately 20 acres of state-owned land.  This research will include examination of the hydrogeological, geochemical, and geo-mechanical characteristics of the host rock at considerable depth.

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