Thursday, May 23, 2013

Steam Power

Yesterday we visited Svartsengi Power Station, a geothermal plant located on the Reykjanes peninsula in southwestern Iceland. The workers at this plant prefer to call it a resource park, since kiit produces not only power, but four other resources for Reykjavik and the other towns of the Reykjanes peninsula.
Yesterday we visited Svartsengi Power Station, a geothermal plant located on the Reykjanes peninsula in southwestern Iceland. The workers at this plant prefer to call it a resource park, since kiit produces not only power, but four other resources for Reykjavik and the other towns of the Reykjanes peninsula.
Svartblarg.jpgSvartsengi Geothermal Plant
The six plants of the resource park drill shafts up to a kilometer (3280 ft.) deep, drawing up a mixture of seawater and fresh water that has been superheated past boiling temperatures by the magma that sits close to the surface in this region. The water, which is still a liquid due to the extreme pressure below the surface of the earth, is then used to heat freshwater to steam to both spin turbines, generating 75 megawatts of power for Iceland, and to be piped to the surrounding cities to be used to heat buildings and provide hot water. After it has been cooled, the glacially pure water is also piped to the surrounding communities, giving Iceland some of the purest tap water in the world.
Octopus.jpgThe "Octopus" turbine, generating 30 megawatts
Even after it's been used to heat other water to steam, the water from the plant is still about 100 degrees F and full of invigorating minerals. This used to be pumped out on the plain to evaporate, but now it is used for the Blue Lagoon Spa, the most popular spa in Iceland, which we will be visiting tomorrow. Finally, some of the carbon dioxide that used to be vented into the atmosphere is now captured and used to produce methanol to be used for fuel. All of these things are done without polluting the atmosphere, giving Iceland some of the cleanest energy in the world.

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