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Grundfos brings 82ºC groundwater to the surface at The Gateway to Hell, Erta Ale

Grundfos was approached to provide a solution to bring 82°C groundwater to the surface in the Afar Region covering the north-eastern part of Ethiopia, one of the harshest and difficult environments on earth.


The Background

This specific water-intensive project was located close to Erta Ale, a continuously active basaltic shield volcano situated in the Afar Depression, a typical Badlands desert area. Erta Ale is the most active volcano in Ethiopia and is famed for its persistent lava lake which has been active during most of the past decades since it was first discovered in the 1960s. 

Defence Construction Enterprise was awarded a road upgrade project in the area. These roads project required an extensive amount of water as it was constructed out of asphalt concrete. Concrete generally requires a lot more water for preparation, in comparison to the typical petroleum-based asphalt previously used.

The Situation

Heated by the active basaltic volcano, only boiling groundwater is available in the area, making it difficult to extract for above ground use. Grundfos was able to provide a reliable solution that made it possible to pump the 82°C boiling water to the surface from a 430m depth borehole for usage in the roads project. 

Water quality and temperature regulation were of utmost importance to the client, who was extremely satisfied at the result of the solution proposed. 

“Our customer Defence Construction Enterprise has used several other solutions; however, they didn’t last long enough to be productive,” says Grundfos Country Manager of Ethiopia, Maru Necho.

The Solution

Grundfos offered an SP60-13 6” borehole pump constructed of EN1.4401 (AISI 316) stainless steel fitted with a 26kW rated motor, constructed of high alloyed austenitic stainless steel (1.4539 (UNS N08904 - 904L-SS2562) with very good corrosion resistance. A control panel fitted with specialised temperature sensors was installed for protection of both pump and motor. For the first phase of the roads project, Grundfos was able to provide solutions and products for two boreholes and are currently attending to more application sites for the next phase. 

“As providing solutions is a big focus for us in Grundfos, I contacted various engineers for advice. We worked together looking at every technical aspect and came up with a solution,” says Maru Necho.  

The Outcome & Satisfaction

Defence Construction Enterprise was extremely satisfied with not only the result but how Grundfos was able to supply tailor-made solutions for the project needs and in an accessible timeframe.  

After completion of the roads project, all boreholes will be handed over to the communities in the area as a source of boiling water.