© GA Drilling

The Slovakian company GA Drilling, the Finnish development company Finest Bay Area Development and the former mining company of the Finnish city of Pyhäjärvi agreed this week to drill the deepest geothermal borehole in Europe.

This is to take place in the mines of Pyhäsalmi. The project is not merely a matter of scoring a premiere, but obviously also about trying out a technique for generating green electricity. The drilling pilot is also intended to see if the new technology can be used to build the world’s longest undersea tunnel.

Geothermal wells

This geothermal technology that is being used is called Plasmabit and has been patented by GA Drilling based in Bratislava, Slovakia. By using this (Plasmabit) technology, it is possible to drill geothermal wells up to 10 kilometers deep quickly and cost-effectively. These kinds of depths make it possible to produce not only heat, but electricity as well. That’s according to the press release issued by the three partners this week. However, they did refrain from specifying what the technology actually consists of in greater detail.

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Longest undersea tunnel

The technology can be used both vertically and horizontally. Which is why it is of interest to Finest Bay Area Development. This company is preparing to build the world’s longest undersea railway tunnel. The tunnel is supposed to connect Helsinki with Tallinn over a distance of 103 kilometers.

The agreement signed by the three parties entails testing tunnel-drilling machines in the hard Finnish rock at the Pyhäsalmi mine. The companies estimate that plasma drilling through hard rock is as much as ten times faster and that higher drilling speeds will make tunnel-drilling machines much more efficient.

The mining company actively sought new uses for the infrastructure.

There is one more bonus point to this. The Pyhäsalmi mine in Pyhäjärvi, the site where the drilling will take place, is a 60-year-old metal mine that will close its mining operations at the end of this year. At over 1400 meters, the mine is the deepest metal mine in Europe and encompasses more than 100 km of tunnels. The town of Pyhäjärvi and the mining company, which is in the middle of a transition, have been actively looking for new uses for the mine infrastructure and its surroundings. One of the uses is the development of a test center for the Finest Bay Area Development company. The drilling tests form a part of this plan.

You can also read about how new drilling techniques can simplify energy storage.

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About the author

Author profile picture Ewout Kieckens is a Dutch journalist in Rome who writes about Italian lifestyle and culture. He has written books on diverse subjects such as the Vatican and Italian design. He is very interested in innovations, especially Italian contributions to progress.