The United States Department of Energy recently approved Atlas Copco Secorac’s plan for a second phase of a three-year research and development project.

Atlas Copco in 2012 received a $3.4 million Energy Department grant to work with Sandia National Laboratories on a down-the-hole hammer design for deep geothermal wells. The goal is to develop a DTH hammer that can withstand the extreme heat of these deep wells, while remaining affordable and productive. The grant depended on a mid-project review, which allowed Atlas Copco and Sandia the chance to show results of Phase 1 to an industry and government panel. That panel’s approval released the balance of the project’s funding for Phase 2.

“We eagerly await the outcome of this geothermal project,” said Bob Fassl, business area president, Atlas Copco Mining and Rock Excavation Technique. “Atlas Copco already offers a wide range of products and services for geothermal development projects, and this is clearly a future growth market for the Group.”

The plan for Phase 2 is to demonstrate consistency of percussive e drilling with compressed air—at three times the speed of conventional methods—to a depth of 3,000 meters and to temperatures of 300 degrees Celsius.

The grant to Atlas Copco Secoroc and Sandia National Laboratories is one of 32 geothermal R&D projects funded through the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The DOE projects are part of a goal to generate 80 percent of U.S. electricity by 2035.

Atlas Copco Secoroc is the rock drilling tools division of Atlas Copco. It manufactures equipment and tools for the mining and construction drilling industry.

 Atlas Copco, based in Stockholm, Sweden, is a leader in segments ranging from compressors and air treatment systems to construction, mining and drilling equipment. The company, founded in 1873, has more than 37,500 employees worldwide, and operates in more than 170 countries. Atlas Copco in North America operates in more than 109 locations and employs more than 4,500 people in the United States. For more information, visit