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 Magmaboorgat belooft onbeperkte energie infographic
Graphic shows location of the Krafla Magma Testbed and how the Supercritical Enhanced Geothermal System collects energy.
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WETENSCHAP

Magmaboorgat belooft onbeperkte energie

By Phil Bainbridge

January 10, 2024 - Scientists in Iceland plan to drill into a volcanic magma chamber in a bid to tap an unlimited clean energy supply – millions of times more than humanity’s annual requirements – and better forecast volcanic eruptions.

Following the discovery in 2009 of magma at a modest depth of only 2.1km by the Icelandic Deep Drilling Project at Krafla volcano, when the expectation had been to find a reservoir of supercritical water above a much deeper magma chamber, the Krafla Magma Testbed was established to create the world’s first research centre able to study magma directly.

Drilling will begin on the $25 million project in 2024, and the project will investigate the possibility of using supercritical water, heated by the magma at up to 1,000˚C, as a clean renewable energy source. AltaRock Energy, a Washington-based geothermal energy company, estimates that 0.1% of the Earth’s heat could supply humanity’s total energy needs for two million years.

Water reaches a supercritical state - where it has the properties of both a liquid and a gas - at over 373˚C and 220 Bar pressure. Typical geothermal systems use naturally occurring water vapour at only 250˚C to power a turbine, compared to 450˚C for fossil fuel power plants. Supercritical Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) involve cold water being pumped down to the magma chamber, where it would be heated to a supercritical state as it flows through natural fractures in the rock, then pumped back to the surface to power turbines with much greater efficiency.

Sources
PUBLISHED: 10/01/2024; STORY: Graphic News
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