Monday, August 24, 2009

Potter Drilling Gets Wired

GroundSource Geo spun off from noted deep drilling hotbed Potter Drilling and enjoys a special relationship with the crew there even though you cannot fit everyone in one car to go to lunch anymore. So it with certain pride that we see that the guys (and Tina) of Potter are now "cool" having been feted in Wired Magazine. Here's what they say in this month's issue:

The process of punching a well hasn't changed in a century. The search for oil, gas, or water may extend more than 7 miles, but it's still done with a tricone bit—three grinding cones angled inward and downward, with spinning teeth. This system is effective at crushing and shearing, but every time a bit wears out, engineers have to "trip" the drill: They bring the head to the surface, change it, and send it back down. A lot of drilling time is actually tripping time, which means a project's cost goes up exponentially with depth. So researchers are developing replacement technologies to reach superheated water for geothermal power or stretch down to previously inaccessible fossil fuel. Here are a few ideas for parts that will be greater than the hole.

The Next Drills

Hydrothermal Spallation
Potter Drilling of California uses jets of superheated fluid to break through granite five times faster than traditional techniques, which don't do well against hard rock types. The first field test of the technology is scheduled for next year in the Sierra Nevada.

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