3D printing of technical components of geothermal power plants | Think GeoEnergy
Italian Enel has approached 3D printing technology to repair essential technical components of a geothermal power plant.
An interesting article was published by the Italian geothermal power plant Enel last week, describing its approach using 3D printers to supply spare parts to geothermal power plants in Italy at significantly reduced costs.
The article shares the success story that recently involved Enel’s metallurgy laboratories in Santa Barbara in Cavriglia, near Arezzo, as part of the company’s flagship project Geyser. This project is dedicated to geothermal energy, one of the renewable sources used for the longest time; Italy – and Enel Green Power – are leaders in this area. Here is their story.
Geyser’s objective is to optimize the management of geothermal power plants, ensure their sustainability and full functionality, increase their operational efficiency and constantly improve their technical and financial performance, all while respecting safety. and the environment.
The team working on the project organized a round table of technicians and experts from the geothermal, thermal and hydroelectric sectors. This is where the idea was born to use a 3D printer for the first time to repair an essential component of a geothermal power plant.
“It all started with our curiosity and our desire to use the 3D printer that we had in-house,” explains Nicoletta Mazzuca, project manager of Enel Green Power for Geyser, which is developing around 42 initiatives involving more than 80 people. . “We wanted to repair parts that were going to end up in landfills because they could not be repaired with conventional forging techniques. But, thanks to the passion, skill and cooperation of our colleagues, we found a solution.
The solution is located in the metallurgical laboratories of Santa Barbara, at the headquarters of Engineering and Technical Support of Enel Production, where an additive manufacturing machine with Laser Metal Deposition (or Direct Energy Deposition) technology has been available since 2019. This extremely high-tech solution the tool can reproduce and repair various metal parts by depositing the necessary material one layer at a time.
“The fact that the printer is located in an area which also has a metallurgy laboratory provides immense added value. In this way, the additive manufacturing process can be monitored almost in real time, checking the mechanical, chemical and metallurgical properties of the manufactured items so that we can also count on constant feedback ”, explains Giulio Andrucci, Technical Manager and coordinator of Santa Claus. Barbara Metallurgy Laboratory.
The full article, linked below, provides all the details about the project, the approach, as well as the technical aspects of this interesting and particularly innovative approach.