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Use of Electrolysis to Actuate Downhole Tools

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000246994D
Publication Date: 2016-Jul-20
Document File: 4 page(s) / 172K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Actuation of downhole tools are traditionally performed through mechanical intervention tools or hydraulic pressures from pumped fluids et cetera. Actuation can be accomplished with electrolysis, a downhole solid-state actuator that has no rotating components. Electrolysis can be used as an actuator for applications such as but not limited to, moving valves, shifting pistons, and actuating downhole tools. No service tools are needed for shifting or setting because the pressure is generated from within the tool through the process of electrolysis. The electrolysis process is repeatable and reversible which allows for repeated cycles of gas generation to drive the downhole tools. The result is a solid-state system that should have greater reliability than motors, especially at high temperature or high vibration environments.

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Use of Electrolysis to Actuate Downhole Tools

Abstract

Actuation of downhole tools are traditionally performed through mechanical intervention tools or hydraulic pressures from pumped fluids et cetera.  Actuation can be accomplished with electrolysis, a downhole solid-state actuator that has no rotating components. Electrolysis can be used as an actuator for applications such as but not limited to, moving valves, shifting pistons, and actuating downhole tools. No service tools are needed for shifting or setting because the pressure is generated from within the tool through the process of electrolysis. The electrolysis process is repeatable and reversible which allows for repeated cycles of gas generation to drive the downhole tools. The result is a solid-state system that should have greater reliability than motors, especially at high temperature or high vibration environments.

Keywords

·         Electrolysis

·         Electrochemical

·         Fuel cell

·         Actuate

·         Downhole tools

Introduction

The energy industry needs to actuate downhole tools for a wide range of applications. Some examples of traditional actions that need actuation include shifting a component (e.g. sleeve/ valve), pumping a fluid, or setting a packer. Traditionally, this actuation is performed with a mechanical shifter that is run from the surface or downhole with an electrically driven motor. The mechanical shifter requires a wellbore intervention which poses a cost with the use of mechanical tools and a risk from running them into the well. In addition, interventions in highly deviated wells are difficult and intervention offshore is expensive.

Actuation could be accomplished with a downhole solid-state actuator that has no rotating components. Electrolysis of water is used to generate pressure and thus to drive an actuator for downhole tools for applications such as, but not limited to, setting a packer and shifting a valve/sleeve. As an additional example, a fuel cell or reversible fuel cell can be utilized to create a change in pressure which translates into a force that is sufficient to actuate downhole tools without the need for service tools or hydraulic pressures from pumped fluids. The fuel cell performs electrolysis with a membrane while traditional electrolysis is performed with electrodes. In addition to water, other possible electrolytes that can be stored in the chamber, including dilute sulfuric acid. Upon electrolyzed, the final products will be hydrogen and oxygen gas, leading to an increase in pressure.

Description

The change in pressure as a result of electrolysis is used to shift a piston and thus to actuate a downhole tool. The images show a simplified illustration of a tool utilizing electrolysis to

1) close ports, or

2) set a packer without a service tool.


One or more of these components can be substituted with any combination of sleeves/plugs/inflatables or any component which is activated by fluid pressure or piston movement et cetera.

a)    Ports opened

Chamber conta...