Message to Merrick.
A gnarly feedback loop.
1. Bay Area startup Earthgrid says it's developing a plasma boring robot that can dig underground tunnels 100x faster and up to 98% cheaper than existing tech, and it plans to use it to start re-wiring America's energy, internet and utilities grids. Most tunnels dug today are made by massive, mechanical rotary boring machines, which scratch cutting wheels against rock and evacuate the debris behind them, lining the tunnel walls as they go. It's painstakingly slow, hugely expensive, and the cutting heads and drill bits often need changing or maintenance. But there's another way to get through the toughest rock – as we outlined in our January article about Petra's thermal drilling robot. Blasting rock with high temperatures can fracture and vaporize the stone in a process called spallation, and blasting this damaged rock with high pressures causes it to flake, chip and blow away. You can do this without touching the rock walls at all, so the equipment can do entire tunnels without stopping if necessary. (Sources: earthgrid.io, newatlas.com)
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to News Items to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.