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Airing geothermal

Airing geothermal Geowell, based in Marl, Germany is using a new CompAir C210TS-21 portable compressor to guarantee air availability and quality during the installation of geothermal probes used for earth-coupled heat pumps.

The company provides a complete service for geothermal installations, from the planning stage through to the final connection to the house, including obtaining planning authorisation.

Compressed air is an essential component in the drilling of boreholes for geothermal installations. Heat stored in the earth’s substrate is extracted via a geothermal heat probe; this is now a common application but one that requires careful planning as the installation will only remain operationally reliable if its construction is of the highest quality.

Compressed air is used during the drilling process in a number of ways: Either a hammerhead or rotary drill bit is vibrated using compressed air to achieve efficient propulsion and to bore a hole through the ground formation. Then compressed air is used during drilling to convey and deposit mud to the surface. When Geowell began looking at the latest portable compressor technologies available it had a number of criteria. The availability of compressed air was critical, as it must be continually injected during drilling until the borehole reaches its final depth.

Maintaining sufficient air pressure was also essential, as the hammer in the drill head frequently requires pressures of 14bar and higher to work cost-effectively at depths of 100m or more. In addition, the unit must be lightweight, compact and easy to tow between projects, especially on to construction sites where accessibility is often limited.

After careful consideration, Geowell’s Southern branch selected a 21bar model from CompAir’s high-pressure TurboScrew C range. Weighing less than 3.5t, the unit can be towed easily and can produce the high pressures necessary, with enough air reserves for easy and efficient penetration to depths greater than 100m. The compressor also enables users to alter compressor parameters and check pressures and fuel consumption on site, without having to refer to user manuals.

The TurboScrew design features intuitive electronic controls. Grouped into three main display pages, the first control identifies the machine; the second enables the user to set operating parameters, such as engine speed and pressure; and the final screen enables the user to identify and take steps to rectify compressor faults, helping to protect the life of the unit and avoid downtime.

All compressors in the range have wide opening doors that provide unrestricted access to components for simple and quick maintenance. The system contains a series of engineer-accessed display screens that allow the technician to limit operating pressure and protect the unit from misuse. 

 
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