Saturday, February 1, 2014

Magma energy

In 2009, the Icelandic Deep Drilling Project inadvertently, and very unexpectedly, struck magma during a drilling session.  Such an occurrence is so rare that this was only the second time it has ever happened.  But as a recent collection of research articles on the incident show, researchers are excited about the possibility of using magma -- the molten stuff in volcanoes -- as a possible new source of geo-thermal energy.  From an article at RealClearScience:
The magma-heated steam was measured to be capable of generating 36MW of electrical power. While relatively modest compared to a typical 660MW coal-fired power station, this is considerably more than the 1-3MW of an average wind turbine, and more than half of the Krafla plant’s current 60MW output.

Most importantly it demonstrated that it could be done. “Essentially, IDDP-1 is the world’s first magma-enhanced geothermal system, the first to supply heat directly from molten magma,” Elders said.
The article is very educational and worth your time.