The RCSG offers the ideal facilities for high-quality experimental research into technology for sustainable underground energy applications. Few places in Europe have such a wide range of advanced test equipment for wellbore research in one place.
Smart materials for geothermal installation
The RCSG offers the ideal facilities for high-quality experimental research into technology for sustainable underground energy applications. Few places in Europe have such a wide range of advanced test equipment for wellbore research in one place. The RCSG is an open innovation center where companies from the industry, universities and high schools can come for support and conduct experiments. One such user is a consortium of companies that includes Huisman, WEP, VDL, EcoWell, Technip, ECW and HP WellScreen. Gert-Jan Heerens of the RCSG talks about it.
Heerens: “The heat sector is a developing sector. At the moment technology is being used that was developed for the oil and gas sector. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the production of geothermal heat needs alternative solutions in a number of areas. The supply industry for this still needs to be developed. The RCSG actively supports the development of this sector by initiating innovation and making test facilities available.
In the ‘Smart Materials for Geothermal Installation’ program, composite materials and embedded sensor technology are investigated under high pressure and temperature. This research is being done as part of the project to make a geothermal installation entirely of composite. Huisman, for example, has developed a production method for making pipes from composite for geothermal heating. Other components are being researched to eventually offer a system solution to geothermal companies.”
Composite better than steel?
“In geothermal heat, you pump water out of the underground,” Heerens explains. “This water is salty and corrosive to steel pipes, but not to composite materials. That’s why Huisman and the RCSG are researching composite. Although there are already many products made of composite, the application is still under development. Measurement data such as temperature and integrity play an important role in controlling production and safety. Therefore, it is also being investigated whether sensors can be produced with it in the composite material. In this way, live data can be brought to light about the production and operation of the system. In particular, it is looking at applying existing technology from other sectors to integrate it into composite for geothermal energy. It is aimed at geothermal energy, but perhaps other industries can use this invention as well.”
Heerens : “It is a nice challenge and if we are successful we will increase safety and reduce operational costs by making production and maintenance more predictable and planable. For our program we are still looking for innovative companies that can help us with embedded sensor technology and knowledge of making composite products.”
Open innovation center
The RCSG makes these and other innovations possible in part by making its extensive testing facilities available to large and small companies in the sector. So for this, anyone can knock on the door of TNO, which runs the center.
Welcome to the RCSG
Do you have an idea, project or research question about technology for sustainable heat production and distribution? The RCSG will assist you in initiating research, finding the right parties, exploring financing options and carrying out the research. Together we will bring sustainable use of the subsurface a step closer.
Contact us. We look forward to welcoming you to the RCSG!