Harnessing the power of Iceland’s volcanoes to provide energy to British homes is one of those ideas that resurfaces every few years, but sounds too good – or whacky – to be true. However, interest from a clutch of international companies in a geothermal project in northern Iceland suggests the idea is not just achievable but commercially viable too. Scientists working on the Krafla Magma Testbed plan to drill more than 2km below the Earth’s crust into a molten magma lake, starting a process they say could see the UK receiving energy from Iceland’s volcanoes within 20 years. In an experiment due to begin in 2020, the researchers will drill an initial borehole down to the magma body, into which water can be pumped through reinforced U-shaped pipes. The resulting “supercritical steam” could, in theory, be used to power turbines and the energy generated sent across the North Sea via underwater cables. While geothermal power already generates a quarter of Iceland’s electricity production, on a global scale the sector has failed to flourish in the same way as solar or wind. Held back by high upfront development costs, it currently produces less than 1% of the world’s electricity, according to the World Energy Council

Guardian 19th May 2017 read more »


Published: 19 May 2017