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Title: Auto Indexer Auto-Indexer for Percussive Hammers: Vane Motor Dynamometer Testing

Objectives Options associated with geothermal drilling operations are generally limited by factors such as formation temperature and rock strength. The objective of the research is to expand the "tool box" available to the geothermal driller by furthering the development of a high-temperature drilling motor that can be used in directional drilling applications for drilling high temperature geothermal formations. The motor is specifically designed to operate in conjunction with a pneumatic down-the-hole-hammer. It provides a more compact design compared to traditional drilling motors such as PDMs (positive displacement motors). The packaging can help to enhance directional drilling capabilities. It uses no elastomeric components, which enables it to operate in higher temperatures ( >250 °F). Current work on the motor has shown that is a capable of operating under pneumatic power with a down-the-hole-hammer. Further development work will include continued testing and refining motor components and evaluating motor capabilities. Targets/Milestones Complete testing current motor - 12/31/2010 Make final material and design decisions - 01/31/2011 Build and test final prototype - 04/31/2011 Final demonstration - 07/31/2011 Impacts The development of the motor will help to achieve program technical objectives by improving well construction capabilities. This includes enabling high-temperature drilling as well as enhancingmore » directional drilling. A key component in the auto indexer is the drive motor. It is an air-driven vane motor that converts the energy stored in the compressed air to mechanical energy. The motor is attached to hammer-like components which impart an impulsive load onto the drive shaft. The impulsive force on the drive shaft in turn creates an indexing action. A controlled test was performed to characterize the performance of the the vane motor for a given pressure. The Sandia dynamometer test station was used to determine the performance of the motor for a given input pressure. « less
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
FY13 AOP 3.4
Product Type:
Research Org(s):
DOE Geothermal Data Repository; Sandia National Laboratories
Sandia National Laboratories
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Geothermal Technologies Office (EE-4G)
15 Geothermal Energy; geothermal; drilling; high-temperature tools; auto indexer; air-driven vane motor; dynamometer; high temperature drilling motor; percussive hammer; down-the-hole-hammer; high temeprature drilling; directional drilling
OSTI Identifier:
  1. The Geothermal Data Repository (GDR) is the submission point for all data collected from researchers funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Geothermal Technologies Office (DOE GTO). The DOE GTO is providing access to its geothermal project information through the GDR. The GDR is powered by OpenEI, an energy information portal sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
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  1. Drilling results from the microhole project at the Sandia High Operating Temperature test facility. The project is seeking to help reduce the cost of exploration and monitoring of geothermal wells and formations by drilling smaller holes. The tests were part of a control algorithm developmentmore » to optimize the weight-on-bit (WOB) used during drilling with a percussive hammer. « less
  2. OM300 – Geothermal Direction Drilling Navigation Tool: Design and produce a prototype directional drilling navigation tool capable of high temperature operation in geothermal drilling Accuracies of 0.1° Inclination and Tool Face, 0.5° Azimuth Environmental Ruggedness typical of existing oil/gas drilling Multiple Selectable Sensor Ranges Highmore » accuracy for navigation, low bandwidth High G-range & bandwidth for Stick-Slip and Chirp detection Selectable serial data communications Reduce cost of drilling in high temperature Geothermal reservoirs Innovative aspects of project Honeywell MEMS* Vibrating Beam Accelerometers (VBA) APS Flux-gate Magnetometers Honeywell Silicon-On-Insulator (SOI) High-temperature electronics Rugged High-temperature capable package and assembly process « less
  3. The US Geological Survey (USGS) resource assessment (Williams et al., 2009) outlined a mean 30GWe of undiscovered hydrothermal resource in the western US. One goal of the Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) is to accelerate the development of this undiscovered resource. The Geothermal Technologies Program (GTP)more » Blue Ribbon Panel (GTO, 2011) recommended that DOE focus efforts on helping industry identify hidden geothermal resources to increase geothermal capacity in the near term. Increased exploration activity will produce more prospects, more discoveries, and more readily developable resources. Detailed exploration case studies akin to those found in oil and gas (e.g. Beaumont, et al, 1990) will give operators a single point of information to gather clean, unbiased information on which to build geothermal drilling prospects. To support this effort, the National Renewable Energy laboratory (NREL) has been working with the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop a template for geothermal case studies on the Geothermal Gateway on OpenEI. In fiscal year 2013, the template was developed and tested with two case studies: Raft River Geothermal Area ( and Coso Geothermal Area ( In fiscal year 2014, ten additional case studies were completed, and additional features were added to the template to allow for more data and the direct citations of data. The template allows for: Data - a variety of data can be collected for each area, including power production information, well field information, geologic information, reservoir information, and geochemistry information. Narratives ? general (e.g. area overview, history and infrastructure), technical (e.g. exploration history, well field description, R&D activities) and geologic narratives (e.g. area geology, hydrothermal system, heat source, geochemistry.) Exploration Activity Catalog - catalog of exploration activities conducted in the area (with dates and references.) NEPA Analysis ? a query of NEPA analyses conducted in the area (that have been catalogued in the OpenEI NEPA database.) In fiscal year 2015, NREL is working with universities to populate additional case studies on OpenEI. The goal is to provide a large enough dataset to start conducting analyses of exploration programs to identify correlations between successful exploration plans for areas with similar geologic occurrence models. « less
  4. Polycrystalline diamond compact (PDC) bits are routinely used in the oil and gas industry for drilling medium to hard rock but have not been adopted for geothermal drilling, largely due to past reliability issues and higher purchase costs. The Sandia Geothermal Research Department has recentlymore » completed a field demonstration of the applicability of advanced synthetic diamond drill bits for production geothermal drilling. Two commercially-available PDC bits were tested in a geothermal drilling program in the Chocolate Mountains in Southern California. These bits drilled the granitic formations with significantly better Rate of Penetration (ROP) and bit life than the roller cone bit they are compared with. Drilling records and bit performance data along with associated drilling cost savings are presented herein. The drilling trials have demonstrated PDC bit drilling technology has matured for applicability and improvements to geothermal drilling. This will be especially beneficial for development of Enhanced Geothermal Systems whereby resources can be accessed anywhere within the continental US by drilling to deep, hot resources in hard, basement rock formations. « less
  5. AASG Wells Data for the EGS Test Site Planning and Analysis Task Temperature measurement data obtained from boreholes for the Association of American State Geologists (AASG) geothermal data project. Typically bottomhole temperatures are recorded from log headers, and this information is provided through a boreholemore » temperature observation service for each state. Service includes header records, well logs, temperature measurements, and other information for each borehole. Information presented in Geothermal Prospector was derived from data aggregated from the borehole temperature observations for all states. For each observation, the given well location was recorded and the best available well identified (name), temperature and depth were chosen. The “Well Name Source,” “Temp. Type” and “Depth Type” attributes indicate the field used from the original service. This data was then cleaned and converted to consistent units. The accuracy of the observation’s location, name, temperature or depth was note assessed beyond that originally provided by the service. - AASG bottom hole temperature datasets were downloaded from between the dates of May 16th and May 24th, 2013. - Datasets were cleaned to remove “null” and non-real entries, and data converted into consistent units across all datasets - Methodology for selecting ”best” temperature and depth attributes from column headers in AASG BHT Data sets: • Temperature: • CorrectedTemperature – best • MeasuredTemperature – next best • Depth: • DepthOfMeasurement – best • TrueVerticalDepth – next best • DrillerTotalDepth – last option • Well Name/Identifier • APINo – best • WellName – next best • ObservationURI - last option. The column headers are as follows: • gid = internal unique ID • src_state = the state from which the well was downloaded (note: the low temperature wells in Idaho are coded as “ID_LowTemp”, while all other wells are simply the two character state abbreviation) • source_url = the url for the source WFS service or Excel file • temp_c = “best” temperature in Celsius • temp_type = indicates whether temp_c comes from the corrected or measured temperature header column in the source document • depth_m = “best” depth in meters • depth_type = indicates whether depth_m comes from the measured, true vertical, or driller total depth header column in the source document • well_name = “best” well name or ID • name_src = indicates whether well_name came from apino, wellname, or observationuri header column in the source document • lat_wgs84 = latitude in wgs84 • lon_wgs84 = longitude in wgs84 • state = state in which the point is located • county = county in which the point is located « less