skip to main content

Title: Energy Storage and Generation for Extreme Temperature and Pressure and Directional Measurement While Drilling Applications

FastCAP Systems Corporation has successfully completed all milestones defined by the award DE-EE0005503. Under this program, FastCAP developed three critical subassemblies to TRL3 demonstrating proof of concept of a geothermal MWD power source. This power source includes an energy harvester, electronics and a novel high temperature ultracapacitor (“ultracap”) rechargeable energy storage device suitable for geothermal exploration applications. FastCAP’s ruggedized ultracapacitor (ultracap) technology has been proven and commercialized in oil and gas exploration operating to rated temperatures of 150°C. Characteristics of this technology are that it is rechargeable and relatively high power. This technology was the basis for the advancements in rechargeable energy storage under this project. The ultracap performs reliably at 250°C and beyond and operates over a wide operating temperature range: -5°C to 250°C. The ultracap has significantly higher power density than lithium thionyl chloride batteries, a non-rechargeable incumbent used in oil and gas drilling today. Several hermetically sealed, prototype devices were tested in our laboratories at constant temperatures of 250°C showing no significant degradation over 2000 hours of operation. Other prototypes were tested at Sandia National Lab in the month of April, 2015 for a third party performance validation. These devices showed outstanding performance over 1000 hours ofmore » operation at three rated temperatures, 200°C, 225°C and 250°C, with negligible capacitance degradation and minimal equivalent series resistance (ESR) increase. Similarly, FastCAP’s ruggedized electronics have been proven and commercialized in oil and gas exploration operating to rated temperatures of 150°C. This technology was the basis for the advancements in downhole electronics under this project. Principal contributions here focused on design for manufacture innovations that have reduced the prototype build cycle time by a factor of 10x. The electronics have demonstrated a substantially reduced design cycle time by way of process and material selection innovations and have been qualified for 250°C / 10 Grms for at least 200 hours. FastCAP has also invented a rotary inertial energy generator (RIEG) to harvest various mechanical energy sources that exist downhole. This device is flow-independent and has been demonstrated as a proof of concept to survive geothermal well temperatures under this project. The herein energy harvester has been developed to provide operational power by harvesting rotational mechanical energy that exists downhole in geothermal drilling. The energy harvester has been tested at 250°C / 10 Grms for 200 hours. Deployment of these technologies in geothermal drilling and exploration applications could have an immediate and significant impact on the effectiveness and efficiency of drilling processes, particularly with regard to use of advanced logging and monitoring techniques. The ultimate goal of this work is to reduce drilling risk to make geothermal energy more attractive and viable to the customer. Generally speaking, we aim to support the transfer of MWD techniques from oil and gas to geothermal exploration with considerations toward the practical differences between the two. One of the most significant obstacles to the deployment of advanced drilling and production techniques in the geothermal context are limitations related to the maximum operating temperatures of downhole batteries used to provide power for downhole sensors, steering tools, telemetry equipment and other MWD/LWD technologies. FastCAP’s higher temperature ultracapacitor technology will provide power solutions for similar advanced drilling and production techniques, even in the harsher environments associated with geothermal energy production. This ultracapacitor will enable downhole power solutions for the geothermal industry capable of the same reliable and safe operation our team has demonstrated in the oil and gas context. Without batteries, geothermal MWD is left without a downhole power source. Some very high temperature turbines exist but provide unsteady, intermittent power and no power when the flow is off. In high loss formations common to geothermal exploration, it will be auspicious to support air drilling in which case there is no flow to power a turbine at all. In the best case, rechargeable energy storage will help to buffer unsteady power from non-battery power sources and in the worst case it will be needed to store energy from highly intermittent sources to provide a continuously operable power source to the tool.« less
 [1] ;  [1]
  1. FastCAP Systems Corporation, Boston, MA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
FastCAP Systems Corporation, Boston, MA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Geothermal Technologies Office (EE-4G)
Country of Publication:
United States
15 GEOTHERMAL ENERGY; Downhole-tools, HT-tools, MWD