Iceland’s Cool Trick? Saving Europe with Its Red Hot Liquid Magma.

By: | March 3rd, 2014

The thinly populated European island nation of Iceland could become the powerhouse of Europe with its abundant geothermal energy supplies.

The change is largely because of a push by the EU to reduce the dependence on fossil fuel energy source. The EU’s member states agreed to have at least 20% of its energy from “renewable sources” by 2020.

Iceland’s unique geology: Perched on the fiery mid-Atlantic volcanic ridge, Iceland is cold and frosted with glaciers. Volcanoes continually build and reshape the landscape but the upside of living on a volcano is that those hot rocks make an ideal energy source.

Iceland has over 200 volcanoes, 600 hot springs and 20 steam fields ripe for harvesting and turning them into a virtually limitless source of power…one that’s much cleaner and less expensive than burning fossil fuels.

Iceland-a pioneer in geothermal energy: The Icelandic Deep Drilling Project, IDDP, has been drilling shaft up to 5km deep in an attempt to harness the heat in the volcanic bedrock far below the surface of Iceland. The borehole reached searing temperatures of up to 1000 °C creating steam which sustained temperatures as high as 450°C.

Energy sucked out of the ground is enough to power all of Iceland, with enough left over to sell to Europe for a tidy profit. To satisfy Europe’s energy needs, hundreds of miles of cables have to be laid underwater.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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