World's first magma-powered geothermal plant

World‘s first Magma-powered geothermal system, located in Iceland, created. This could lead to a revolution in the energy efficiency of geothermal areas across our planet.

Images © IDDP



The IDDP, Icelandic Deep Drilling Project, in cooperation with Iceland’s National Power Company, the operator of the Krafla geothermal power plant, they cemented a perforated steel casing, back in 2009, into a well and were able to drill down into the molten magma and control it, by pumping cold water into the hole.

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Drilling into magma is a very rare occurrence elsewhere in the world. Instead of inserting a concrete plug in the bottom of the hole, as was done in a similar situation in Hawaii, the IDDP, in cooperation with the National Power Company, the owner of the hole, decided to investigate the hole further and bear part of the substantial capital cost involved. For instance, the hole was lined with a steel casing (sacrificial casing), which was cemented most of the way down but kept open (perforated) in the bottom section closest to the magma. Then the hole was allowed to heat slowly and eventually allowed to flow superheated steam for the next two years until July 2012. Throughout that time various investigations at utilizing this resource were carried out that are described in the articles in Geothermics. The success of this drilling and research is amazing to say the least, and could in the near future lead to a revolution in energy efficiency in high‐temperature geothermal areas of the world.

What was involved this good performance? Firstly, we were able to drill down into the molten magma and control it, despite some difficulties. Secondly, pumping cold water into the hole to break up the rock next to the magma created high permeability (hydrofracking) which reached connection to the colder geothermal environments above. Thirdly, we were able to set steel casing down to the bottom of the hole. Fourthly, allowing the hole to blow superheated , highpressure steam for months at temperatures over 450 °C, beat the world record for geothermal heat as this well was the hottest in the world and one of the most powerful.



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via inhabitat

source IDDP