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Generating electricity from geothermal hot springs in Iceland getting closer

Geothermal hot springs in Flúðir, Iceland (source: flickr/ Alan Moore, creative commons)
Alexander Richter Alexander Richter 20 Aug 2018

The installation of new small-scale power generation units to utilise hot water at hot srpings in Iceland is in progress with the first plant to start in the fall of this year.

A recent blog post by Icelandic engineering group EFLA describes a new low temperature geothermal plant is rising at Flúdir, small community in southern Iceland. The power plant uses new operating system for the utilization of geothermal heat to produce electricity. EFLA is the main consultant in the project and is responsible for designing the piping system, and all subjects related to the geothermal aspect.

The geothermal well contains hot water that has a temperature of 116°C and the capacity of the well is 45 liters per second. With the Climeon Heat Power modules, it is possible to produce clean energy by utilizing the temperature from 116°C to 76°C and cool the geothermal water. The geothermal fluid heats up a working fluid that is inside the Heat Power units. The system operates at low-pressure levels in comparison to traditional heat power solutions.

Efficient method

The system that is used at Flúdir comes from Climeon, a Swedish company, that provides a new technology based on a binary cycle, to produce clean electricity from low-temperature heat sources. The modules can operate in temperatures between 70°C-120°C and utilize the temperature difference between a hot and a cold water and produce clean electricity. The low  pressure requires less energy needed for pumping resulting in a higher net power output.

Previously it was considered inefficient to produce electricity from low-heat geothermal in Iceland due to low energy prices. However this new technology makes this economically feasible and will enhance the use of geothermal heat in Iceland.

Delivering of heat power modules

The first heat power modules were delivered to the power plant in Flúdir and a delivery ceremony was held. Approximately 50 guests attended including Ministers from Sweden and Iceland, suppliers, partners and customers.

The new power plant is estimated to start producing electricity in the fall of 2018.

Source: Efla Engineers