Ball State University, Muncie, Ind., has begun the drilling of the largest geothermal project in U.S. history. On May 9, the first of up to 4,000 holes was ceremonially drilled by Senator Richard Lugar, using Laibe Corp.’s model Versa-Drill V-100NG/RH drilling rig.
“This system will heat and cool more than 40 buildings over 660 acres, and as
such, it will be the first full-scale district geothermal project in the
country,“ says Ball State University president Jo Ann Gora.
The new system will replace the university’s coal-fired plant, and is
anticipated to save $2 million annually in energy costs.
“We’re honored to be part of the ground-breaking ceremony,” says Jim Hopkins, president
and CEO, Laibe Corp. “Our rigs have travelled around the world and helped with
some pretty amazing projects, but to be part of the Ball State ground-breaking
truly is an exciting opportunity, especially with Senator Lugar on the
driller’s stand of a Versa-Drill.”
The project is expected to be completed in 8 years, and will create numerous
new jobs throughout that time. When complete, it’s expected to eliminate 80,000
tons of carbon emissions per year, and cut Ball State’s carbon footprint in
Construction for the first phase will involve drilling 1,750 wells. As many as
10 drilling rigs will be operating at the same time in order to get the first
two well fields done as quickly as possible. Ball State is drawing the
attention of other universities that are calling to see how they’re approaching
The finished project should leave a very small visual footprint on the campus.
“If we do everything right, when it’s all said and done, this place will look
exactly like it looks right now,” Gora says.
“This is a large project,” says Hopkins. “We are confident that Ball State
University will set the standard for large-scale geothermal projects. Laibe
Corp. will do whatever it can to assist Ball State in making sure this project
is a success for them and the geothermal industry.”
Geothermal Topics: Ball State University Begins Large Geothermal Project
August 1, 2009