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Iceland turns to volcanoes for sustainable power

The geothermal well is projected to produce 10 times more energy than oil or gas sources

A geothermal plant in Iceland
A geothermal plant in Iceland.
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Sustainable energy generation is seriously heating up in Iceland. In January, the country completed drilling on a 3-mile-deep geothermal well reaching the liquid magma within a live volcano. The hole is perhaps the hottest well on earth, with an average temperature of 800°F. Energy generation at the site has only just begun, but research supports estimates that the well will produce roughly ten times more power than a traditional oil or gas well.

It does this by tapping into extremely hot, pressurized water under the earth’s surface—so hot that the water becomes a “supercritical” fluid which is neither liquid nor gas. This can be used to turn powerful steam turbines, generating power.

The scientists working on the well have two years to demonstrate the success and economic feasibility of this experimental project. In theory, all of Reykjavik—which is already powered by 100 percent renewable sources—could be powered by just three to five volcanic wells.

Via: Inhabitat, Phys.org