Draka Cableteq USA Awarded $3.2 Million Grant from DOE to Develop Geothermal Systems

Draka Cableteq USA, manufacturer of wire and cable products since 1905, announced today that it has received a $3.2 million grant from the United States Department of Energy to support the development of a new generation of tools that will allow Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) to supply the United States with much clean, carbon-neutral electrical power.

EGS uses water injected deep into the earth to generate steam to run electrical turbines. One EGS power plant has the potential to generate power equivalent to more than 40 wind turbines or a coal-fired plant. The DOE has set a goal of generating 20% of the US electrical power by 2010 via geothermal sources. It is anticipated that this will be accomplished by establishing EGS plants in as many as 20 states.

Under the EGS award program, Draka will develop and bring to market high temperature 374°C (705°F) hydrogen-insensitive fiber optic cable for distributed temperature and pressure sensing throughout the wellbore and high temperature electrical cable for running pumps, sensors and tools deep inside the well. Insulated wire and glass fiber cables are a crucial enabling technology for EGS. Without wire and fiber, downhole tools such as temperature and pressure sensors cannot communicate with the surface. However, high temperatures and formation of hydrogen within the well makes the use of insulated conductors problematic and also results in the rapid degradation of glass fiber. There is currently no cable that can operate in a well hotter than 300°C for a period greater than a few days.

Mark Lowell PhD, Draka’s Vice President of Innovation and Principal Investigator for the Grant explains that “EGS depend on the ability to monitor conditions throughout the wellbore. Our hydrogen-insensitive optical fiber will provide a means for obtaining temperature and pressure measurement at thousands of points in the well.

We are extremely grateful for the assistance our partners in this project will provide, including Sandia National Laboratories, AltaRock Energy and PermaWorks. We are also exceedingly grateful to Congressmen Barney Frank and Patrick McHenry for their support for our proposal.”

Draka Cableteq USA, Inc. develops and manufactures high performance standard and specialty cables and has facilities in Taunton, Massachusetts and Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania. Draka Cableteq USA, Inc. is a member of the Draka family of wire and cable companies owned by Draka Holding N.V. based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.