May 17, 2020

Gaming Software Enables Virtual 3D Drilling Rigs

energy digital
3D drill rig
gaming software
3 min
Eco-friendly drilling technologies
THE WOODLANDS, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Using state-of-the-art gaming software, anyone will soon be able to explore a virtual 3D drill rig right from t...


THE WOODLANDS, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Using state-of-the-art gaming software, anyone will soon be able to explore a virtual 3D drill rig right from their desktop.

The Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC), in conjunction with the Coastal Impacts Technology Program (CITP) and the Epic Software Group, are developing an innovative multimedia web application to demonstrate the latest advances in environmentally friendly drilling technologies.

The web-based program is designed to familiarize members of industry, government and education with environmentally sustainable technologies now available or under development in the energy industry.

The project is funded by Houston Advanced Research Center and the Texas General Land Office through a grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior, Coastal Impact Assistance Program.


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“Our team has created a fun, interactive application to contrast conventional ways industry has drilled for oil and gas with newer and more environmentally friendly methods,” Richard Haut, leader of CITP, said. “Visitors to the new site can open videos and 3D animations featuring a host of new tools that are reducing the impact of energy production on the environment.”

“Although this multimedia application will be useful in global applications, our focus is on the environmentally sensitive coastal areas of Texas,” Haut noted.

The Epic Software Group won the contract to provide the computer animation, web graphics, video and programming for the project. Epic has developed multimedia applications for energy companies since 1990.

A series of videos on the site will be hosted by “Ralph and Rhonda,” two roughnecks who don’t always see eye to eye. Ralph is an old-timer who likes to do things ‘the way we’ve always done ‘em in the oil patch.’ Rhonda is relatively new to the industry, but has visited companies working with the latest technologies. She is eager to share what she has learned about reducing the impact of drilling on the environment.

“While energy production is serious business, our goal is to present the information in both an informative and entertaining way,” Vic Cherubini, president of the Epic Software Group, said.

What makes the 3D virtual rig tour unique is the use of a powerful software engine that allows visitors to move completely around or through the rig at will, according to Cherubini.

When they see something that interests them, they can play a video, visit a web site, or get additional information on a green product related to that part of the rig.

When visitors move closer to a piece of drilling equipment, the sound of the machine gets louder. If they pass a roughneck, the worker will stop and explain what he or she is doing and explain the environmental advantages.

“This application is similar to what you might see at the OTC, but now you can experience it on your own desktop,” Haut said.

Examples of the technologies showcased in the web-based application include closed loop mud systems, small footprint rigs, advanced hydraulic fracturing systems, high efficiency water handling and processing systems.

The 3D virtual rig tour, open to the public without charge, will be located at Phase I of the project is scheduled for completion at the end of September with additional phases to follow.

The EFD-CITP is a research and demonstration program investigating new technologies that can help reduce the impact of oil and gas exploration and production along the Texas Gulf Coast.

HARC is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization based in The Woodlands, Texas, dedicated to improving human and ecosystem well-being through the application of sustainability science and principles of sustainable development.

Epic Software Group is a multimedia production company located in The Woodlands. Founded in 1990, the company operates from a state-of-the-art production studio for filming and post production work.




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Apr 16, 2021

Hydrostor receives $4m funding for A-CAES facility in Canada

Dominic Ellis
2 min
The funding will be used to complete essential engineering and planning, and enable Hydrostor to take critical steps toward construction
The funding will be used to complete essential engineering and planning, and enable Hydrostor to take critical steps toward construction...

Hydrostor has received $4m funding to develop a 300-500MW Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) facility in Canada.

The funding will be used to complete essential engineering and planning, and enable Hydrostor to plan construction. 

The project will be modeled on Hydrostor’s commercially operating Goderich storage facility, providing up to 12 hours of energy storage.

The project has support from Natural Resources Canada’s Energy Innovation Program and Sustainable Development Technology Canada.

Hydrostor’s A-CAES system supports Canada’s green economic transition by designing, building, and operating emissions-free energy storage facilities, and employing people, suppliers, and technologies from the oil and gas sector.

The Honorable Seamus O’Regan, Jr. Minister of Natural Resources, said: “Investing in clean technology will lower emissions and increase our competitiveness. This is how we get to net zero by 2050.”

A-CAES has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions by enabling the transition to a cleaner and more flexible electricity grid. Specifically, the low-impact and cost-effective technology will reduce the use of fossil fuels and will provide reliable and bankable energy storage solutions for utilities and regulators, while integrating renewable energy for sustainable growth. 

Curtis VanWalleghem, Hydrostor’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are grateful for the federal government’s support of our long duration energy storage solution that is critical to enabling the clean energy transition. This made-in-Canada solution, with the support of NRCan and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, is ready to be widely deployed within Canada and globally to lower electricity rates and decarbonize the electricity sector."

The Rosamond A-CAES 500MW Project is under advanced development and targeting a 2024 launch. It is designed to turn California’s growing solar and wind resources into on-demand peak capacity while allowing for closure of fossil fuel generating stations.

Hydrostor closed US$37 million (C$49 million) in growth financing in September 2019. 

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