Efficient access to deep geothermal heat is an urgent problem due to its potential to offer an endless resource of renewable energy. However, reaching the required depth (5 km) for cost-effective geothermal harvesting in Scandinavia is a major challenge for present drilling methods and incurs huge costs due to wear of the drill tools.
One unconventional drilling concept uses high voltage alternating current to weaken Granite rock, before the mechanical breakage, by piezoelectric actuation of the Quartz mineral. The present project, PIEZODRILL, aims at deep understanding and control of this intriguing new drilling concept by novel micromechanical experiments combined with advanced numerical modelling.
PIEZODRILL project creates a major impact in the broad field of rock drilling and excavation. The judicious combination of experimentation and numerical modelling is novel from scientific point of view and has high potential on field of computational mechanical engineering.