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"This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 778602"


The overall vision of the ECO-DRILLING project is to prototype, pilot, and commercialise our energy efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly full profile directional drilling technology for the global hydropower sector.

European and global industrial and societal challenge: Traditional waterways for Small Hydropower Plants (SHPP) consist of an intake structure, a tunnel or horizontal pipe, and a penstock or pressure shaft to the power station. Previously, pressure shafts have been built aboveground or buried in a ditch, as it requires lower development costs. However, topographical conditions (i.e. steeply inclined slopes with exposed rocks or risk of landslides) and new environmental regulations against the construction of aboveground pressure shafts, call for the development of alternative solutions.

Norhard's ECO-DRILLING solution is a disruptive full profile directional drilling solution that significantly reduces the environmental impact of drilling hydropower's pressure shafts and development costs, facilitating the expansion of hydropower generation.

  • ECO-DRILLING does not use explosives, which cuts CO2 emission by 140t per average hydropower project when compared with the alterantive D&B technique

  • ECO-DRILLING improves Health Safety and Environment (HSE) impacts on workers, reduces hazardous activities, eliminates human toxicity problems, photochemical oxidant formation, particulate matter formation, and acidification of soil

  • ECO-DRILLING incorporates a state-of-the-art electric drilling motor directly attached to the drill bit, and a non-rotatory drill string, which reduces to a minimum the friction between the drilling string and the rock, and consequently cuts the system's overall energy consumption down to only 60kW 

  • ECO-DRILLING's non-rotatory drill string also enables:

    • Insertion of drill string modules without discontinuing the drilling process (i.e. saving working time)

    • Incorporation of electric cables to power the drilling motor

    • Inclusion of high capacity fibre cables to drive our communication system

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