Iceland is drilling a giant hole, not for oil, but for geothermal energy

Why it issues to you

If all goes nicely, Iceland might have discovered a option to harness the power of supercritical steam, paving the best way for brand spanking new geothermal power methods.

Drill, child, drill. However on this case, not for oil — relatively, the nation of Iceland is digging a giant hole right into a volcano within the identify of renewable power. By boring the world’s deepest geothermal gap within the Reykjanes peninsula (it goes down three.1 miles), scientists say they’ll be capable of benefit from the acute strain and warmth to faucet into a powerful 30 to 50 megawatts of electrical energy from a single geothermal properly.

Iceland is already one of many world’s biggest customers and suppliers of geothermal power, producing round 26 % of its electrical energy from geothermal sources. Nevertheless, a lot of the nation’s wells pale compared to this newest gargantuan effort. Whereas a typical geothermal nicely extends simply 1.5 miles into the bottom, this new one is twice as deep, and consequently might yield as much as 10 occasions extra energy.

By the point the drilling group will get to round three miles beneath Earth’s crust, scientists look forward to finding a mix of molten rock and water, however given the large quantity of warmth and strain current, the water will turn out to be what known as “supercritical steam.” Neither a liquid nor a fuel, this supercritical steam incorporates much more potential power than both of these states of matter, and scientists say it holds the important thing to extra electrical energy.

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“We hope that it will open new doorways for the geothermal business globally to step into an period of extra manufacturing,” stated Asgeir Margeirsson, CEO of the Iceland Deep Drilling Project (IDDP), the collaboration amongst scientists, business, and the Icelandic authorities chargeable for the Reykjanes venture.

He added, “If this works, sooner or later we would wish to drill fewer wells to supply the identical quantity of power, which means we might contact much less floor, which suggests much less environmental influence and hopefully decrease prices.”

This isn’t the primary time such an formidable venture has been tried. Six years in the past, an analogous effort was taken, nevertheless it ended disastrously when the drilling workforce bumped into scorching magma at 1.three miles beneath the floor, destroying all the drill string. However already, the present workforce has gone additional with out vital incident (knock on wooden).

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