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A Finnish-Norwegian project is developing a new drilling concept

Published on 16.4.2021
Tampere University
kuvassa voimalaitos
The new drilling method has the potential to facilitate the harvesting of geothermal energy.
A Finnish-Norwegian research team will begin to develop a new drilling method in a pilot study funded by the Academy of Finland (AKA). The results are also expected to promote cost-effective geothermal harvesting in Scandinavia.

Associate Professor Mikko Hokka (Tampere University), Senior Research Scientist Alexandre Kane (SINTEF) and Research Scientist Ruben Bjørge (SINTEF) are researching a new drilling technology that uses the high-voltage alternating current of the quartz mineral contained in granite, which is expected to facilitate mechanical drilling.

The aim of the project is to gain an in-depth understanding and control of the new drilling concept by novel micro-mechanical experiments that are combined with advanced numerical modelling. The combination of experimentation and numerical modelling is also novel from the scientific point of view and opens new possibilities in the field of computational mechanical engineering.

The efficient harvesting of deep geothermal heat has the potential to yield an endless resource of renewable energy. In Scandinavia, however, reaching the required depth of five kilometres for cost-effective geothermal harvesting is a major challenge for present drilling methods and incurs huge costs due to the wear of the drill tools.

The numerical and experimental three-year study of utilising piezoelectric actuation to assist mechanical breakage in rock drilling received €747.000 from AKA.

AKA grants €2 million to collaborative research projects

AKA’s Research Council for Natural Sciences and Engineering and the Research Council of Norway (RCN) granted €2 million to three Finnish-Norwegian pilot projects through the targeted call of a bilateral funding scheme.

The three-year projects funded through the targeted call promote the quality of research, scientific impact, and impact beyond academia as well as scientific renewal and diversity.

The funding co-operation supports researcher-driven international collaboration. Within the funding scheme, AKA and RCN commit to funding the work of the foreign partners of researchers working in their own country. The bilateral International Co-Investigator Scheme is expected to bring significant added value to the funded projects.

Academy of Finland’s press release 15 April 2021

Photograph: Jonne Renvall