SUBTERRANEAN STEAM POWER FOR NEW ZEALAND? DRILLING FOR STEAM AT WAIRAKEI

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The early days of the Wairākei geothermal power project.

Intertitle: “Site of drilling operations seven miles north of Taupo” Panned shot of site at Wairākei.
“Mobile rigs are used”. Shots of drilling rig.
“Liquid mud is pumped into the bore through the drill pipe to lubricate the bit and keep the steam pressure under control”. Machinery for pumping the mud into the bore.
“For safety’s sake the drill passes through a stuffing-box and main valve which control the thermal gases”.
“The temperature of the bore is checked frequently by means of special equipment. Temperatures have been recorded high enough to char wood.
Workers checking the temperature. Feeding a wire down the bre.
“On March 12th 1951, with the final greasing of the main valve and the checking of previously - planned safety precautions - roads closed to traffic, installation of extension handle on valve - the valve is opened.”
Men gathered about the main valve. Man turn a wheel on a large extension so to get distance between himself and the valve. Steam shoots straight up 30 metres into the air.
“Water, mud and rock fragments are thrown out until the bore settles down to a steady flow of wet steam.”
Close up of the bore with sign: ‘8” Bore Wairakei 12-3-51’.
“Some of the rock fragments picked up after the initial blow.”
Men handling a rock and laughing.
“General view of the area showing the 4 - inch bore on the right and the 8 - inch bore on the left.”
The 4 - inch bore is capable of producing 400 kw. The 8 - inch bore has not settled sufficiently for testing. It is expected to produce 2000 kw.”
“Further large bores are now being drilled to determine the extent of the steam reservoir.”

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Year 1951

Reference number F3392

Collection Film and Video Collection

Media type Moving Image

Place of Production NEW ZEALAND/AOTEAROA

Duration 0:06:33