Urban vibro trucks to detect geothermal energy potential without drilling

Urban vibro trucks to detect geothermal energy potential without drilling

April 9, 2024 0 By Julie Campbell

The goal is to use the vehicles on city streets to determine potential with less cost and time

Herrenknecht AG has released a simulation video to educate about its Urban Vibro Trucks intended for use on city streets to help to detect the potential for geothermal energy below.

Traditional drilling is costly and time consuming

The geothermal energy potential detecting trucks use devices deployed beneath them to send seismic waves under the ground below a city in order to detect desirable developments.

As this type of clean power becomes increasingly desirable, companies and cities have been looking for practical ways to detect if it will be possible to use it in their landscape. As clean as it may be, using it can be very challenging unless the right circumstances lay themselves out.

In cities, it is especially challenging to detect potential, because it’s not typically feasible to bring in equipment, set it up and drill down under the streets.

Vibro Trucks provide new geothermal energy potential detection

The Herrenknecht AG Urban Vibro trucks are under development in collaboration with the Geophysical Institute of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). Each of the eight-wheel trucks features an all-wheel-drive system that makes it possible for particularly good maneuverability. The front four wheels can move independently of the rear four, providing the driver with better capabilities for moving the large vehicle around in tight European city streets.

Geothermal Energy - Urban Vibro Truck Simulation Video - Image Source - Herrenknecht AG YouTube

Geothermal Energy – Urban Vibro Truck Simulation Video – Image Source: Herrenknecht AG YouTube

These trucks also have smart safety features such as a birds-eye-view camera system and a collision-awareness system.

Each truck weighs 32 tons but runs at only 65 decibels – more than reasonable for their size – and can drive as fast as 25 miles per hour (40 kilometers per hour). They have received road use approval from the European Union.

The top feature of the trucks

hydrogen news ebookAs impressive as the vehicles may be for safe maneuvering on tight city streets, what truly makes them shine is their feature for detecting the potential for geothermal energy. The P-wave shaker is a component installed beneath the vehicles, in the midsection.  It lowers itself to rest on the ground and sends seismic waves under the surface.  Then, a combination of geophone sensors is able to record the waves that bounce back, offering scientists a detailed map of the nature of the ground below cities. 

Closing thoughts

If the trucks work as planned, the data provided by the maps can make it possible to install geothermal energy systems in urban environments.

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