An expert team from Slovakia is going to enter the market with technology that provides an environmentally sound solution for several challenges related to climate change. PLASMABIT® technology is able to disrupt the global energy mix of renewable sources of energy, as well as to significantly change the quality of life in the poorest regions of the world. Plasma Busters will demonstrate the principle of their technology and will reveal the huge potential of energy hidden directly under our feet at the European Researcher´s Night 2019 in Bratislava.
The goal of GA Drilling, currently developing PLASMABIT® technology, is to make geothermal energy found at extreme depths accessible. Replacing fossil fuels by other, green alternatives has been discussed for years. While the popularity of solar and wind renewables and batteries is growing, the energy from Earth´s depths still has a negligible share in the energy mix. At the moment it is not accessible enough for mankind to utilise its potential. The technology that could change this and make geothermal available anywhere in the world, is being developed right in Slovakia.
A Journey from Labs to Reality
Contactless plasma technology PLASMABIT® for drilling and milling, that is a unique in the world, went through a long journey of development and search for the right concept. Several generations of prototypes have been developed, as well as non-existent textbooks of plasma physics with a rare know-how have been written by this team. Today PLASMABIT® has 23 patents and the application of plasma milling is in the testing phase before market entry.
”Up to now we tested the technology in simulated conditions of high pressure and high temperature, similar to depths in several kilometres down the Earth. After our concept was proven as feasible, we had to fulfil also qualification conditions, strict safety and process standards included. That opened us the door to service agreement with well operator and currently we prepare tests even in real conditions. We are going to run similar mile with plasma drilling when being launched into the market.“ – explained Matúš Gajdoš, the Head of Research and Development Department of GA Drilling on the technology readiness level.
Independence from Hydrocarbons, as well as the Path to Drinking Water
Although we might not be aware of this, the Earth is our greatest battery. Energy hidden under the Earth crust is clean and safe. Geothermal powerplant operation is quiet and does not produce any emissions, therefore, it can be built nearby cities and residential areas. Geothermal energy is suitable for power generation or directly for district heating. A wide scale of applications of geothermal energy are also found in agriculture and food processing. It can also be used for hydrogen production, the cleanest fuel, and the desalination of sea water in regions with a lack of drinking water.
Compared to other renewable energy sources, geothermal energy is not dependent on the weather. Its availability is not limited by the day-night cycle, nor atmospheric actions. It is a 24/7/365 energy which is currently only limited by the depth at which it can be found on most of Earth’s surface.
Iceland Anywhere in the World?
Iceland, a well-known example of the use geothermal power and a huge inspiration to GA Drilling is a country laying at the tectonic fault, where temperatures of 300 – 400°C are available two-three kilometres under the surface. Iceland is a pioneer in the use of geothermal energy for space heating. Geothermal power facilities currently generate 25% of the country’s total electricity production. 66% of primary energy use in Iceland came from geothermal.
Elsewhere in the world the path to geothermal energy is much more difficult. Sufficient temperatures for power production from geothermal resources are found in 5 kilometre depths on 3% of the Earth’s surface. More remarkable is the geothermal map in the depth of 10 kilometres where temperatures of 300+ degrees Celsius are available at as much as 70% of the Earth´s surface, while significant deposits in these depths occur at nearly all continents (besides Antarctica), and in many European countries.
”Our technology is a solution for currently uneconomic deep wells, because it is contactless. It means there is no wear and tear to the gear. The whole drilling process is quicker and smoother even in hardest rocks, therefore, the technology is significantly saving environment, as well as costs – up to 30-50%. Plasma arc, generated by the tool, is disrupting any rock, that falls tiny pieces, much more easy to handle in the well compared to big chips produced by conventional rotary drilling.“ – a description provided by Matúš Gajdoš on the benefits of plasma drilling.
GA Drilling stand at the European Researcher´s Night 2019 can be found under the name ‘Plasma Busters’, at the traditional place – in the left corner on the ground floor of the Old Market Building in Bratislava. Visitors can see a live demonstration of plasma drilling, real PLASMABIT® head and its components, as well as a geothermal power station simulator.