Iceland Is Tapping Into A Nearly Limitless Source of Energy: Earth’s Underground Magma

It took 1.3 miles of drilling down into the earth for a team from Iceland’s National Energy Authority to hit a renewable energy gold mine: magma.

This is only the second time ever that anyone has drilled down deep enough to hit magma. It will be the first time that this magma is used to generate energy through an enhanced geothermal system (EGS).

The team from the Iceland Deep Drilling Project, as its known, pumped cold water deep into the earth’s rocky crust to break into the magma reservoir, then lined the bottom of the hole with steel, creating an extremely hot, highly pressurized shaft of steam.

Diagram of the process (click to enlarge)
Diagram of the process (click to enlarge)

At over 840° F, it broke the world record for geothermal heat and power. According to a report from the Energy Authority, the steam could generate up to 36 megawatts/hour.

The average American household uses between 1 and 1.5 kW of electricity, so 36 MW is enough to power anywhere from 27,000 to 36,000 homes.

Read the full story from ComputerWorld here.

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