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Science & Technology

Scientists aim to harness power of volcanoes

By T.K. Randall
February 18, 2017 · Comment icon 4 comments



There is a vast amount of energy trapped beneath the Earth's surface. Image Credit: USGS
Efforts are underway in Iceland to find ways of turning the heat from volcanoes in to usable electricity.
There is a lot of heat trapped beneath the surface of the Earth - so much so in fact that finding ways to turn this mostly untapped resource in to electricity has been on the agenda for years.

At Iceland's Reykjanes Peninsula, researchers at the Iceland Deep Drilling Project (IDDP) have been drilling down in to the depths of a volcanic system that has been dormant for over 700 years.

Last month they succeeded in reaching the edge of a magma reservoir at a depth of three miles beneath the surface where temperatures can reach up to 427 degrees Celsius.
The key to harnassing volcanic geothermal energy is something called "supercritical water" which is created when water comes in to contact with the extreme temperatures of molten rock.

In a supercritical state the water is neither a liquid nor a gas and can carry up to ten times as much energy as regular steam.

"If deep supercritical wells, here and elsewhere in the world, can produce more power than conventional geothermal wells, fewer wells would be needed to produce the same power output, leading to less environmental impact and improved economics," the IDDP wrote in a statement.

Source: Live Science | Comments (4)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Parsec 6 years ago
That's really cool! Or hot?
Comment icon #2 Posted by Calibeliever 6 years ago
3 miles deep is a very expensive and difficult hole to drill and maintain.
Comment icon #3 Posted by taniwha 6 years ago
They must have no fear to be living by volcanoes. Even then they can't get warm enough without digging for lava. I suppose that's the Viking spirit...fearless and cold.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Parsec 6 years ago
Well, in Italy someone livesona volcano, but I wouldn't call them exactly fearless, rather something less flattering.


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