Iceland, the island wants to use magma to produce clean energy

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in Iceland wants a group of scientists and engineers dig a tunnel to get to the magma chamber AND produce geothermal energy take advantage of its very high temperatures. In the next few years, the team will begin drilling near a molten rock deposit nearby volcano Krafla. The goal is to transform the country into a leader in clean energy and seismic studies.

Company Krafla Magma testbed (Kmt) has been studying the surface of Iceland for ten years in search of the optimal location for its project, which aims to use the area’s abundant magma to cover energy needs Icelandic without relying on fossil fuels.

Magma as an energy source

It is no coincidence that Iceland is one of the most advanced countries in geothermal technology. The location on the boundary between the North American and Eurasian plates, which are currently in the process of separation, means that the island must constantly cope with a force of nature that is released from the earth’s crust. The last episode comes from the end of 2023, wheneruption of the volcanic system near the town of Grindavík led to the evacuation of almost four thousand people.

According to information provided by Kmt, the energy source for the project will be a magma chamber near the Krafla volcano. Researchers will drill into the earth’s surface to two kilometers deep, stops just above a bed of molten rock. Once they reach their destination, the temperature coming from the magma channels reaches one thousand degrees.

After ten years of study, those responsible for the initiative are ready to start drilling in 2026. Excavation work will take two months, after which the team will analyze the surrounding environment to assess the feasibility of the project. If all goes according to plan, the first magma research center will be ready in 2027.

This innovative project expand our knowledge of magma to protect millions of people, towns and cities around the world from volcanic disasters, researching methods to obtain geothermal energy more efficiently“, we read on the Kmt website.

Project challenges

Using the earth’s magma may seem like a promising idea, but scientists themselves admit It won’t be easy to accomplish. Currently, there are no detectors of molten rock deposits or reliable methods of accessing them. Geothermal energy production also faces significant challenges, such as the availability of suitable heat sources, high operating costs, and risks associated with the industry, including the high probability of earthquakes, eruptions, and toxic gas emissions.

Iceland already has some turbines that run on the heat of the earth’s emanations. Now Ktm intends to do just that next step and use even higher temperatures to meet Iceland’s energy needs.

This article originally appeared on Wired en español.

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