With high pressure in the depth

InnovaRig facilitates scientific research drilling

Research drilling rig InnovaRig of the GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam © Herrenknecht-Vertical GmbH
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Whether meteorite craters, movements of the earth's crust or volcanic activity - scientific drilling usually takes place where geological processes in the subsurface are to be studied as examples. Now, for the first time, a research drilling rig is being developed with "InnovaRig", which is optimized for such geoscientific and geotechnical tasks. It will allow cost-effective drilling to a depth of about 5, 000 meters.

Such drilling is technically demanding and often complicated to carry out. "InnovaRig" is to remedy the situation soon and is mainly used in the International Continental Drilling Program ICDP. Other important fields of work will be studies on underground CO2 storage and the use of geothermal energy. The completely new drilling technology concept is being developed by the GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam (GFZ) in cooperation with the industrial partner Herrenknecht-Vertical GmbH.

Technical equipment

Like any other drilling rig, "InnovaRig" initially consists of the basic tower components including feed system, linkage bridge, flushing pumps, energy supply and borehole locking system. "But in order to meet the high technical requirements, above all an innovative drive must be developed, " explains Lothar Wohlgemuth from the GFZ. "This allows the implementation of air lifting, rotary, directional drilling and rope core drilling methods while minimizing manual activities and the application of the latest ergonomic findings, " said Wohlgemuth.

The system is supplemented by a variable flush circulation system that can adapt to the different flushing flow volumes. In addition, there are special equipment for the core drilling technology, a mini field laboratory and devices for the time-saving preparation and execution of borehole measurements. "Particularly important is the modular design and the use of container-based, uniformly sized components, " says Wohlgemuth. "This then enables the fast and cost-effective assembly or disassembly of the plant."

Significant cost reduction

Schematic representation of the GFZ InnovaRig © Herrenknecht-Vertical GmbH

The drilling rig with an investment volume of around 15 million euros is being financed by the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers and an industrial component. It is the property of the GFZ and will be operated after completion in May 2007 together with the industrial partner via the GeoForschungs-BohrGesellschaft (GFBG). The actual operation of InnovaRig including personnel provision, maintenance and service is taken over by the GFBG. "With the realization of this GFZ R & D project, it is now possible for the scientific community to offer the implementation of research drilling projects with significant cost reductions", summarizes Wohlgemuth's technical implementation. display

(Lothar Wohlgemuth - GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam, 16.03.2007 - AHE)