Liebherr launches battery-powered drilling rig

22 July 2019

Austria – The deep foundations division at Liebherr has launched a battery-powered drilling rig in 2019. The first unit is currently available for hire, but as Tunnels and Tunnelling goes to press, the rig is working on a site 1km from Liebherr’s factory in Nenzing.

The drilling rig (named ‘LB 16 Unplugged’) is suitable for Kelly drilling, double rotary drilling and continuous flight augering to a maximum diameter of 1,500mm and a maximum depth of 34.5m. The rig is powered by 265kW electric drive with a 10-hour battery life (under normal working conditions, not artificial test conditions). The charging time is seven hours and after 10,000 operating hours, the total capacity is expected to degrade to 80%.

A spokesperson added that the zero local emissions factor has been resulted in a lot of interest from Scandinavia, which has strict guidelines on pollution, but the removal of heavy-duty electricity cables from the worksite, and noise reduction, are other benefits.

While the company is looking at expanding its battery range, drilling rigs have such high energy requirements that the larger ones in the range will not be battery-powered for the foreseeable future. The spokesperson explained that the LB 16 is a relatively small rig that has been fitted with a large battery.