99% of our planet is hotter than 1000 ° C, but we hardly use this heat. To be precise, less than one percent of the energy produced globally comes from geothermal sources. This might be surprising, especially in the context of the energy transition and the global striving for CO2 reductions. The reason why geothermal energy has not yet caught on is the high investment costs. In addition, the risk of not finding the desired conditions during the excavation and therefore having to abandon the project does not help the popularity of geothermal energy. But that does not mean that this cannot be changed. On the contrary.
Tomorrow's geothermal energy
We believe that future geothermal projects will use a closed loop system and reach depths of up to 10,000 metres. Compared to conventional geothermal energy, which operates at depths of about 5,000 metres, the additional depth brings significantly higher temperatures (up to 300°C), which means that more energy can be extracted. In addition, a closed water circuit has the advantage that a successful outcome can be 100% guaranteed, regardless of geological conditions. The reason is simple: the heat exchange in a closed system does not depend on the existence of aquifers.
The idea of closed-loop geothermal energy is not new and was first published in 1979 by Kurt Brunnschweiler, an ETH process engineer. Currently, there are several start-ups and companies taking up the challenge of deep geothermal energy (e.g. Eavor Ltd.). However, one of the biggest challenges for these companies is the inexistence of suitable drilling technology. For this reason, we at HAMMERDRUM are highly motivated to develop a drilling machine that can efficiently and precisely tap the depths.