Iceland Drilling World’s Deepest Geothermal Well in Race for Renewable Energy
At a time when the fossil fuel industry dominates the world, and as we wait to see what the fallout will be from Fukushima and other nuclear plants that continue to age and contaminate surrounding areas, we need now, more than ever, a pioneering effort to develop clean, renewable sources of energy. Doubly so as we move ever further into the digital age when our lifestyles and way of life depend ever so much more on electricity.
Solar and wind energy technologies are seeing a boom at present, although they both rely on proper climate conditions and require a significant amount of raw materials to produce the necessary equipment. Hydropower is widely used, but requires the damming of water ways which is disruptive to local eco-systems and wildlife.
Geothermal energy, however, taps into the stored energy of our planet by sinking heat exchanges below the below the ground at varying depths depending on the type of system. The heat trapped inside earth, or created underground by magma or hot springs heats water in the exchange creating energy, which is then converted into electricity or heating systems. It is unique as a form of renewable energy in that it is present 365 days out of the year, requires fewer rare earth metals than solar and wind technologies, and can operate in the range of 400-500% efficiency for home heating in colder climates.
The tiny, frigid, island nation of Iceland, renowned for its efforts to clean up its banking system of the corruption so prevalent in Western economies, is already a pioneering geothermal energy and producing 26% of the nation’s electricity with geothermal power.
Now, in an effort to increase their stake in geothermal, they are drilling the world’s deepest geothermal borehole near a volcano, which will vastly increase the energy and efficiency of geothermal projects by reaching temperatures of up to 400-500ºC.
“Iceland is digging world’s deepest geothermal borehole into the heart of a volcano at a depth of 3.10 miles (5 km) to tap renewable energy. The extreme pressure and heat at such depths could derive 30 to 50 MW of electricity from one geothermal well.
A typical 2.5 km-deep geothermal well in Iceland yields power equivalent to approximately 5 MW. Scientists expect a ten-fold increase in power output per well by digging further deep into earth’s crust. At a depth of 5 km , the extreme pressure and heat of over 500 degrees Celsius will create ‘supercritical steam’ substantially increasing the turbine efficiency.” [Source]
At this stage, there are some drawbacks to geothermal energy production, namely some associated risks to the environment including cost, the potential release of subterranean greenhouse gasses and the possibility of triggering small earthquakes associate with hydraulic fracturing, however, the system as a whole is enormously more environmentally friendly than fracking, coal-mining, and other fossil fuel extraction.
Read more articles by Vic Bishop.
About the Author
Vic Bishop is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com and OffgridOutpost.com Survival Tips blog. He is an observer of people, animals, nature, and he loves to ponder the connection and relationship between them all. A believer in always striving to becoming self-sufficient and free from the matrix, please track him down on Facebook.
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