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EP&C and Huisman Geo: using the earth to sustainably generate energy

Our earth is a tremendous source of energy as its heat can be used to generate energy in a sustainable way. However not without first overcoming a number of technical hurdles. That is exactly what our clients Huisman Geo did. They came up with clever and efficient methods for bringing geothermal heat to the surface. At EP&C we are proud of our collaboration with Huisman Geo. Together we are contributing to a better world. 

Geothermal heat

Huisman is the world market leader in the design and construction of, among other things, huge cranes and installation equipment for the installation of offshore wind farms and pipeline and drilling systems for the extraction of oil and gas. The Huisman Geo division is now also using its knowledge of drilling for geothermal heat.

marc-vierkant-fotoIntellectual Property Engineer Marc Brinkman of Huisman explains how it works. "Geothermal heat is extracted from hot water that is found in porous sand and rock layers deep underground. In the Netherlands geothermal heat is usually extracted at a depth of about 2 to 3 km, where the water has a temperature between 70℃ and 90℃. To get the heat to the surface hot water is pumped up from great depths. Heat is subsequently extracted from this water and then the water is pumped back down again. To do this you need at least two pipes extending from the surface to the layer of earth containing hot water. The heat can then be used to heat processes or to drive a generator that generates electricity. This is already happening in Iceland, but there the heat is closer to the surface. In the Netherlands we have to drill deeper." And this is where Huisman Geo’s two clever inventions on which they have applied for a patent come in.


Smooth pipe with no drag

The first invention involves a method for making the pipe ultra-smooth. Huisman Geo uses glass fibre reinforced plastic pipes. Marc says: "We want to work efficiently and sustainably. Steel doesn't last long enough because of the corrosive water and heat. The disadvantage of existing plastic pipes is that they are not smooth. This causes a high flow resistance and therefore pump losses. Moreover, this may cause the pipe to clog up. So our engineers came up with a clever manufacturing method for creating a pipe with glass fibre mats and resin that is ultra-smooth both inside and out."

Unique methods

Heating at the depth of one kilometre means that a short pipe will not suffice. So the pipes have to be attached to each other. Huisman Geo also came up with a solution for this. A very slim threaded coupling made of glass fibre reinforced plastic. The slimness maximises the internal diameter of the pipe in the borehole. Marc explains: "We can make ultra-smooth pipes with a perfectly hardened resin, with no air bubbles and on top of that we can fit that pipe with a very slim threaded coupling. That's unique." 

Patents make it worth the investment

The patents that Huisman Geo applied for together with EP&C are a worthwhile investment. Marc explains why. "We have a different and better product than our competitors. We have invested a great deal of money into it. By being the only one that is allowed to make it you recoup such an investment."

The collaboration with EP&C played an important role in this. "At Huisman we have a long history with EP&C. We also got them involved from an early stage. This prevents a situation in which ideas are disclosed before you have a patent in place. Moreover, EP&C are also able to share thoughts on ways we can improve and fine-tune our ideas."



Dutch & European Patent Attorney,


Dutch & European Patent Attorney,


Dutch & European Patent Attorney