The Research Council of Norway has granted NOK 24 million to the four-year project NEXT-Drill, in which scientists and industry will develop the technology and tools needed to produce geothermal heat from the earth.
Geothermal heat is available all over the world, and is a clean, stable, inexhaustible, and “weather-proof” source of energy. At Norway’s latitudes, the ground temperature rises by about 20 degrees centigrade per kilometre into the crust. Power from this source of energy could play a significant role in the global green energy mix, the group said.
With its strong and innovative oil industry, the group believes that Norway is in a unique position to capture geothermal heat, and drilling technology has evolved significantly in the course of the past ten years, as oil and gas deposits become more and more difficult to access. NEXT-Drill does not primarily concern deep drilling, but will form the basis for it in the future. The focus is rather on more efficient drilling and new methods of drilling in hard rock.
Industrial competence project
The expert group that is going to develop and experimentally test wells and drilling technology includes scientists from SINTEF, NTNU, IRIS and the University of Stavanger. The vision is that the group will act as a global centre of expertise in drilling and well technology for both conventional and deep geothermal energy. (www.egbu.no)
A number of Norwegian groups are already focusing on deep geological energy, and several of them are collaborating with the new project.
NEXT-Drill is a industrial competence project and it will offer a basis for close cooperation between the participating research institutes and universities. The industrial consortium includes energy companies Statoil and Statnett, Atlas Copco Scoroc, the leading Swedish manufacturer of equipment for drilling in hard rock, and a number of Norwegian entrepreneur and technology companies such as Resonator, Norhard, Pen-Rock and Rock Energy. SINTEF is coordinating the project.