Friday, April 20, 2018

Norway: Company Provides Equipment that Can Withstand the Most Extreme Geothermal Conditions

Measuring devices for the world’s most extreme environment (News Release)

Norwegian research scientists are contributing to the development of the world’s hottest geothermal well in a non-volcanic area. The goal is to exploit the inexhaustible supply of heat from the interior of the Earth, and this calls for equipment that can withstand the most extreme conditions.

An international research team recently completed a three-year EU project called DESCRAMBLE (Drilling in dEep, Super-CRitical, AMbients of continentaL Europe). Together, the project team has drilled a test well in a geothermal field in Tuscany in Italy. The Italian company Enel Green Power, a global producer of green energy, is heading the project, with SINTEF, one of Europe’s largest independent research organisations, as its research partner. Together they are attempting to harness the natural forces found three kilometres closer to the Earth’s core.

The measuring equipment SINTEF has developed as part of this project is a so-called “wireline logging tool” that can measure downhole temperatures and pressures. Such measurements are crucial in the search for the extremely energy-rich supercritical water. Temperature and pressure data indicate when the drill bit has entered a zone containing such water, and the well’s geothermal properties (both the maximum temperature and temperature changes caused by drilling) will tell us how much energy the well can produce.