Geothermal energy is an abundant energy resource that comes from tapping the natural heat of molten rock deep beneath the Earth’s surface. Geothermal energy is a vast energy resource thousands of times greater than the world’s oil reserves. This energy resource would last millennia at the current rate of consumption. It is an energy resource with relatively low environmental impact that could be used to generate electricity, heat buildings, and drive industrial processes while emitting virtually no environmentally harmful gases.
More than 50 percent of a geothermal power plant’s capital cost can come from drilling and completing the well. Sandia investigates new drilling processes and tools that could make geothermal energy a practical and affordable energy source.
Reliable drilling technology is also vital to ensure access to our diminishing oil & gas reserves. These remaining hydrocarbons are often found in deep reservoirs with ever increasing downhole temperatures and pressures. Many of the challenges in oil and gas drilling are similar to those encountered in geothermal well construction.
Sandia also supports a variety of non-energy related governmental programs that require drilling research to support other national security objectives. Through a strong application-oriented R&D approach, Sandia is uniquely qualified to apply drilling technology to these applications and develop new technologies to address the challenging problems necessary to ensure our national security.