Plasma drilling technology for geothermal energy utilisation supporting decarbonisation of UK energy sector

Project Details


The aim of the project is to offer a step change in geothermal drilling technologies and support the decarbonisation of the energy sector following COVID-19. The university will offer its expertise by carrying out studies of combustion at high pressures within the Advanced Engineering Centre, before advising GA Drilling on the best combustion system for a full-scale drilling tool.

Geothermal energy (heat coming from the sub-surface of the earth), is the only 24/7 renewable energy source which could realistically produce a significant quantity to replace fossil fuels, but its path is often blocked due to challenges beneath the surface.

At the bottom reaches of the drills the temperatures can exceed 300 degrees Celsius, so developing the technology to effectively break through hard rock in a cost-effective way is not easy.

With the drills also coming under extreme pressure as they go deeper (up to 1000 bar), plasma drills are emerging as a faster and cheaper way to dig deep for geothermal power, which could make the energy commercially viable.
Effective start/end date1/10/2030/06/21


  • Innovate UK


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