World’s first hybrid-electric horizontal drill halves fuel consumption

12 August 2017

Finnish manufacturer Visedo has co-developed the world’s first hybrid electric horizontal drilling machine for groundwork applications. This is in conjunction with Dutch industrial drilling equipment manufacturer Normag.

Visedo manufactures electric power for heavy duty vehicles on land and sea. The hybrid powertrain developed for the new steerable-drill system can halve fuel consumption and associated emissions.

The new Visedo-Normag drill system can dig horizontal channels of up to 1.2 m diameter through subsoil for distances of 3 km, while performing drilling duties.

The system can also channel for pipework and wiring for power and other services in fully developed urban areas.

The machine also offers greater flexibility in remote locations where other diesel-hydraulic systems have difficulty gaining access. At the same time, it can provide significant operational cost savings as well as the environmental benefits of less fuel consumption and associated pollution.

Instead of the hydraulic motors and pumps that drive standard horizontal drilling systems, the Visedo-Normag machine has 12 inverters that supply AC power to the three main electric motors and six additional ones that drive and control rig operations. These provide a combined capacity of 750 kW.

Operation of the system is controlled digitally and has been made unevenly to withstand the particularly harsh wet and muddy environments encountered in horizontal drilling.

Pieter Dijkstra, MD of Visedo Netherlands referred to the new system as a game changer for the world of horizontal drilling. According to him this is due to the fact that it removes the need for dedicated generators as part of the mobile drilling machine.

Fuel consumption

He also added that it would be best for developing countries in particular. He explains that this is because diesel quality is often not up to the quality needed for today’s generators. Their system enables the operators to rent locally the diesel generators they need for the particular job.

He says that fuel savings are considerable: the first Visedo-Normag rig reported fuel consumption as low as 18 litres per hour. Previously with a diesel-hydraulic rig, consumption was 58 litres per hour.

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