17 June 2020

Developing Sustainable Geothermal Technology

By Ben Strange, CEO Strada Global

Developing and implementing innovative technology is about far more than just the big idea. Ensuring that a venture fully capitalises on its opportunities and prototypes is more like a journey that involves a team with a vision, backers who understand the value of that vision and a relentless pursuit of potential. 

For Strada, it’s about accelerating the opportunities our technology has to positively impact the planet. Geothermal energy isn’t simply about generating heat, it’s also about delivering a balanced, constant supply throughout the day, the week and the year – the holy grail of renewable energy technologies.


The last six months have been pivotal for the development of our drilling technology, and our objective, which is to demonstrate through our innovation that the potential of geothermal energy can now be accessed swiftly and cost-effectively across the planet. 


We’re all agreed that the priority is to find solutions for the world’s growing energy demand that are low carbon, sustainable, resilient and don’t harm our planet. However the geothermal debate centres around the big question: how quickly can this happen?


With the development and activation of any new technology, it’s critical to set out our capabilities right now, and our pathway into future implementations. We’ve set out our development programme below, and as we move into deployment, we look forward to scaling this process across our international projects. 


Q1 2020 – Successful testing of our drilling technology


In January this year, Strada finalised a very successful testing phase that has enabled us to back our claims to the market by trialling our percussion hammer drilling technology in the field. Our successful testing demonstrated the advantages of our patented Fluid Hammer Operating System (FHOS):

+ A significantly higher drilling rate in hard igneous rock
+ Superior removal of cuttings from the hole
+ Safer operator environment
+ Deeper drilling capability
+ Better safety due to downhole capability


Q2/3 2020 – Manufacture


Following the successful testing of our Fluid Hammer Operating System, we are applying everything we have learned throughout the programme. New coatings, design inputs and materials are being implemented and tried on our testing site. Once we have completed the necessary checks we begin the manufacture of our patented and now proven hammers, ready for deployment in Q4.


This includes hardware of:

+ Dual Circulation Water Hammer
+ Dual Circulation Drill Pipe, Drill Collars and Drill Stem Accessories
+ Dual Circulation Swivels


Our development during this phase also includes the design and manufacture of the technical interface which will allow our dual circulation drilling tools to be adapted to existing rigs. Operational lessons learnt from the testing program will be compiled into the Operational and Maintenance Manual (OMM) and product specification literature.


Q4 2020 – Initial deployment


This quarter will mark the initial deployment of technology for commercial use. The first of the FHOS product range will be the DCWH 120, a 12-inch hammer. Initial opportunities have been identified and we will begin to mobilise. 


The DCWH 120 hammer is a key element of our technology and features bit production with impact wear resistant steel and heat treatment, tungsten or PCD buttons and drop centre profile. The DCWH’s near bit stabilisation and retention keeps the hole from deviation and retains the bit head to the hammer in the event of a drill bit failure, avoiding losing equipment in the well. The top sub includes Strada’s proprietary dual circulation connection as standard.


Q1 2021 – Demonstrating technology at scale


Strada has a technology that is rapidly scalable. It can be rapidly deployed all over the world, tomorrow. We believe in sustainable development, which involves deploying our technology in the right areas, at the right time and with the right resources so that we can bring this opportunity to the international industry, safely and effectively. 


We know that today, our technology is capable of drilling 6,000-8,000 metres very quickly. But as with any new technology we anticipate to come across bugs, and have chosen select projects to apply our learnings.


New and innovative drilling technology needs to be proven to give contractors and governments the confidence to use it in their global projects. Drilling costs have had a reputation of cost blowouts over the years, and we need to build trust with project developers for the privilege to disrupt this thinking. 


We will build this credibility by deploying our dual circulation drilling tools in a number of existing low risk, high impact critical infrastructure projects to demonstrate our technology at scale.


Our goal for this stage is not big profits. We intend to use this period of development to reach concept approval within the industry, bringing our technology to the field and showcasing it to international markets.


Q2/Q3 2021 – Deployment into major projects 


During 2021, we will be looking at major investment, and following the successes of our initial deployments, we will expand Strada to meet the demands of all existing opportunities that our company is currently in contact with. 


Companies and governments commissioning geothermal projects want to see a pilot. They want to see de-risked technology driven successfully, in action and in the field. By demonstrating our ability to deploy our technology successfully on initial projects, we anticipate moving quickly into more significant projects in ultra deep geothermal wells during 2021.


At Strada, we believe strongly that it is the time to lead the geothermal energy revolution. This is the moment to accelerate a transition towards a clean energy future that prioritises the health of people and planet. For the first time, groundbreaking technology is in operation that has the potential to unlock vast global geothermal resources worldwide.


We are determined to use our innovation to support governments as they chart a course towards a decarbonised future. Thanks to our technological advancements, that future may be closer within our reach.