A hybrid electric horizontal directional drilling (HDD) rig has been launched by Finnish manufacturer Visedo and Dutch industrial drilling equipment manufacturer Normag.

 “In the world of horizontal drilling, this system is a real game-changer,” says Pieter Dijkstra, managing director of Visedo Netherlands. “Unlike conventional systems with hydraulic drivelines, it removes the need for dedicated generators as part of the mobile drilling apparatus. … In developing countries in particular, that's a real bonus because diesel quality is often not up to the quality needed for today's gensets. With our system, operators have the freedom to rent locally the diesel generators they need for the particular job, which are built to use the quality of fuel locally available.”

The first Visedo-Normag HDD rig was delivered to a client in Poland, who reported fuel consumption as low as 18 liters per hour. Past consumption with a diesel-hydraulic rig was 58 liters per hour. The rig can dig lateral shafts of up to 1.2 meters in diameter through subsoil for distances of 3 kilometers. Relevant applications include water, drainage, sewage and ducting for pipework, and cabling for power and other services.

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 ancillary inverters that drive and control rig operations. They provide a combined capacity of 750 kW. It is estimated the electrified system adds approximately 10 percent to the overall capital cost of a €1 million mobile drilling rig, but the manufacturers say that cost is mitigated by the significant fuel savings and operational flexibility.

Operation of the drilling rig is controlled digitally. It has a rugged design to withstand harsh, wet and muddy environments encountered in HDD settings. Visedo, which manufactures electric power for heavy-duty vehicles, developed the hybrid powertrain for the new steerable-drill system, which can halve fuel consumption and associated emissions while also reducing noise.

Normag Technical Director and Co-Founder Raymond Petiet said:

“Our first client was looking for a very versatile rig that had the capacity to do 300-tonne jobs but also would not be overkill for smaller tasks. The alternative was to run several diesel motors of different size, depending on the requirements of the job,” says Raymond Petiet, Normag technical director and co-founder. "The fuel savings for the client are in the order of 50 percent, from 700 liters per day down to 350. With rigs running 12-14 hours per day, seven days per week and 18-26 weeks per year, this amounts to a lot of fuel.”

About Normag (https://normag.nl/en/)

Normag develops, produces and supplies systems for horizontal directional drilling (HDD) and micro-tunneling. Normag’s products can be produced in series or tailored to client specifications. The performance and capacity of the various modules have been optimally coordinated across the company’s product range. Normag works for clients in civil engineering, pipeline construction and the offshore industry across the globe. To learn more, visit www.normag.nl/en/.