Iceland Mag

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Iceland Mag

Nature

A record 4.5 km/2.8 mile deep geothermal borehole drilled on Reykjanes peninsula

By Staff

  • Reykjanesvirkjun power plant The 4.5 km borehole is part of Reykjanesvirkjun power plant. Currently the plant has 12 2.7 km deep wells. Photo/Gunnar V. Andrésson.

The Icelandic Deep Drilling Project, IDDP, has reached an important milestone, drilling the deepest geothermal borehole in Iceland, and probably the world, the local newspaper Fréttablaðið reports. The 4,500 meter (2.8 mile) borehole in the Reykjanes peninsula could become the first of a new generation of cheaper, more powerful and environmentally friendly geothermal boreholes in Iceland.

Read more: Reykjanes Geopark: A volcanic wonderland less than an hour’s drive from Reykjavík

The drilling is a collaborative project between the Icelandic power company HS Energy and other Icelandic energy and drilling companies which are part of the IDDP and the Norwegian oil company Statoil. The goal is to explore the potential of extracting energy from deep geothermal systems, which could increase the geothermal energy output of Iceland dramatically and cut costs, while also significantly cutting down on the environmental effect of geothermal energy.

Harnessing geothermal energy can cause significant changes to the surface activity of the system, as well as necessitating large structures and pipelines which alter the landscape and destroy geothermal and volcanic land formations at geothermal sites. By sinking fewer and deeper boreholes, which can produce dramatically more energy, IDDP hopes to cut down on these effects.

Read more: Geothermal power generates higher living standards, lower heating costs and less pollution

The goal of the project is to reach depths of 5 km (3.1 m), where scientists working on the project hope to find water at 400-500°C (750-930°F). If the chemical composition of the water is correct it could be used to generate superheated steam which can then be harnessed to create electricity. Currently the heat in the borehole is near 400°C (750°F). If everything goes according to plan the borehole is expected to generate 30-50 MW, compared to the average 5 MW power of regular geothermal boreholes.

 

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