Geothermal energy is widely recognized as a clean, renewable, and dependable source of energy. However, its full potential is limited by the geographic distribution of high-temperature rocks near the surface.
GA Drilling, a Houston-based geothermal technology company, made a significant advance in deep geothermal drilling with the successful public demonstration of its innovative drilling tool, the ANCHORBIT.
The test, conducted in collaboration with Nabors Industries Ltd. at their technology center in Houston, displayed the tool’s ability to double drilling speed and extend the drillbit lifetime in hard and abrasive formations. These advances have the potential to significantly reduce the cost of deep geothermal drilling, remove financial barriers, and expand global access to geothermal energy.
The success of GA drilling in geothermal technology contributes to meeting decarbonization goals and offers a viable solution to retrofitting carbon-intensive coal power plants, reducing emissions, and strengthening energy independence from fossil fuels worldwide. GA Drilling is a pioneer in advanced drilling techniques using plasma and thermomechanical technologies.
ANCHORBIT is designed to enable deep drilling in high-temperature hard formations compared to drilling in shallow wells. The technology aims to penetrate crystalline rock at a depth of more than 5 km (3 miles) at high rates, harness hot water from the Earth’s crust to generate clean energy, and convert it into power.
ANCHORBIT is a specialized downhole walking system designed to improve stability and prevent vibrations during drilling operations in high-temperature, hard rock typically found in deep geothermal projects. By stabilizing the drillbit in the wellbore and allowing weight to be added to the bit, the ANCHORBIT can double the rate of penetration and extend the life of the drillbit. This is a significant improvement over current drilling methods that suffer from vibration, low penetration rates, and frequent bit changes in such challenging conditions.
ANCHORBIT’s cost-effectiveness integrates seamlessly with conventional rotary drilling techniques to make geothermal projects economically viable. The tool is also designed for use in conjunction with GA Drilling’s PLASMABIT technology, which further increases drilling capabilities in the geothermal industry. With ANCHORBIT, GA Drilling aims to improve drilling economics, accelerate commercialization, and enable large-scale deployment of geothermal projects.
Tomas Kristofic, Founder and CTO of GA Drilling, said, “ANCHORBIT is an excellent mixture of existing technologies, ‘spiced’ by unique innovations. As a result, it brings unparalleled enhancement in drilling performance and consistency to existing drilling technologies. It is a long-awaited leap on the path to the breakthrough technology enabler of a geothermal revolution.”
By developing breakthrough technologies, the company is paving the way for accessing deep geothermal energy sources globally, providing terawatts of clean energy from unprecedented depths, and revolutionizing the geothermal industry.