Iceland’s “Thor” volcano can generate 10X more energy than oil or gas wells by tapping into liquid hot magma.
Geothermal energy is nothing new, but Iceland’s volcano will take things to a whole new level.
Named after a Nordic god, “Thor” is a rig that symbolises Iceland’s leading-edge efforts to produce powerful clean energy. Engineers plan to drill nearly 3 miles into the live volcano to tap liquid hot magma.
The extreme heat and pressure at this depth makes the water take the form of a “supercritical” fluid, which is neither gas nor liquid.
The aim is to generate electricity from the heat stored inside the depths of the volcano by creating steam that causes turbines to move and generate power.
The well is anticipated to be the hottest hole on earth, containing magma that averages 427 °C (800 °F). The hole, completed in January this year has begun production – and if successful, the clean energy source will be able to generate ten times more energy than standard oil or gas wells.
Albert Albertsson, an engineer at the Icelandic energy company HS Orka, involved in the project says; “we expect to get five to ten times more power from the well than a conventional well today.”
The geothermal well is expected to generate enough energy to supply electricity and hot water to the capital city of Iceland, Reykjavik, with a population of 212,000.
Usually, you would require 30-35 conventional wells to generate enough energy for a city of this size, however, if Thor performs as expected, it would only take 3 – 5 wells.
The volcano is situated not far from the Blue Lagoon – a stream attracting more than a million tourists last year.
Thor also overlooks craters formed by the last volcanic eruption that took place 700 years ago, covering part of Reykjanes peninsula with a sea of lava.
Scientists and engineers working on the “Thor” experiment have two years to determine its success and the economic feasibility of the drill project.
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Image source: inhabitat