Iceland is drilling into a volcano to generate geothermal energy

William Gayde

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Iceland is currently the only country in the world running on 100% renewable energy, but apparently that isn't good enough for them. They have just drilled roughly 3 miles (5km) into the heart of a volcano to access the immense heat trapped inside. The geothermal power plant, located at Reykjanes, is named after Thor, the Norse god of thunder and lightning. Most of Iceland's current electricity comes from hydroelectric dams with geothermal currently accounting for just 25%.

Drilling nearly 5km into the earth is no small feet. This record-breaking project started in August of last year and took 6 months of continuous drilling to reach its target. The temperatures and pressures this deep are extreme. Water transitions into a supercritical state where it is no longer gas nor liquid. Using this superheated water, they can expect to get "5 to 10 times more power from the well than a conventional [oil or gas] well today."

The Reykjanes region where the Thor volcano well is situated was previously used by NASA to train astronauts on what the moon would look like. The volcano erupted about 700 years ago leaving it cratered and desolate, just like the lunar surface.

Drilling down to extract heat from under the earth's surface is far better for the environment than fossil fuels like coal or oil, but it's not perfect. With current technology, geothermal energy isn't fully renewable or clean. There are still issues about increased sulfur and CO2 emissions that come with bringing buried gas to the surface. That being said, recycling methods to trap or send the gas back into the earth are advancing rapidly.

Harnessing the power of a volcano was once only a figment in science fiction writers' imaginations. If this project is successful, it could open the door to a lucrative new source of relatively clean and renewable energy.

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psycros

TS Evangelist
A single eruption and you're screwed. Then again, Icelanders have never been known to put safety ahead of a grand venture. Their incorrigible gamblers.
 
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kapital98

TS Guru
A single eruption and you're screwed. Then again, Icelanders have never been known to put safety ahead of a grand venture. Their incorrigible gamblers.
What evidence do you have to support this? Or, better, that's it's more than a theoretical possibility?

The consensus view among scientists and economists seems to be that geothermal energy has by far the highest benefit to cost ratio of all energy sources. The major pitfall is that there are very few places to tap this type of energy. It's not like anyone in Wisconsin is going to benefit from geothermal energy. Once you add the cost of transporting it then it's better to have other energy sources (solar, hydrogen, etc).

Basically, use geothermal where you can get it and keep advancing on other renewable sources where you can't.
 

Squid Surprise

TS Evangelist
Are they not worried that Godzilla or some other giant monster will be released?!?!? All of my movie watching has told me that this is the natural consequence of harnessing Mother Nature for electricity :)
 
"Water transitions into a supercritical state where it is no longer gas nor liquid."

So it's ICE. How is ice a supercritical state?

Unless you were failing to say that it's a plasma? How is this a "supercritical state"? What is ionizing it? What's critical about it? It's like you folks don't even know what heat is.
 

Squid Surprise

TS Evangelist
"Water transitions into a supercritical state where it is no longer gas nor liquid."

So it's ICE. How is ice a supercritical state?

Unless you were failing to say that it's a plasma? How is this a "supercritical state"? What is ionizing it? What's critical about it? It's like you folks don't even know what heat is.
No, it's NOT ice!! It's superheated water.... did you read the article? Or just that one line?!?

It is water heated past the boiling point - but because of the immense pressure, it doesn't turn into a gas....
 
No, it's NOT ice!! It's superheated water.... did you read the article? Or just that one line?!?

It is water heated past the boiling point - but because of the immense pressure, it doesn't turn into a gas....
So it's a solid, then. It's ice. If it's not a plasma, a gas, or a liquid, it's a solid. There are only four states of matter.

Since it's "superheated" (which is a completely fictitious term, by the way. You don't even know what heat is, evidently.) then it would be ionized, and thus a plasma. If it's not a plasma, then it's a gas. But since you say the pressure somehow magically keeps it from changing states, sans any physical mechanism, what state is it in?

Intense pressure doesn't keep matter from changing states. There's immense pressure at the bottom of the ocean, but that doesn't make water magically into some unknown form of matter. You're making even less sense than the article.
 
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Squid Surprise

TS Evangelist
So it's a solid, then. It's ice. If it's not a plasma, a gas, or a liquid, it's a solid. There are only four states of matter.

Since it's "superheated" (which is a completely fictitious term, by the way. You don't even know what heat is, evidently.) then it would be ionized, and thus a plasma. If it's not a plasma, then it's a gas. But since you say the pressure somehow magically keeps it from changing states, sans any physical mechanism, what state is it in?

Intense pressure doesn't keep matter from changing states. There's immense pressure at the bottom of the ocean, but that doesn't make water magically into some unknown form of matter. You're making even less sense than the article.
It's still "technically" a liquid.... again, I suggest reading the article.... the water is so hot that it SHOULD turn into steam (that's a gas by the way), but the immense pressure keeps it a liquid. Because it is so hot, however, it provides more energy than "normal" water would.

If you are simply arguing semantics, I suggest you troll elsewhere - if you actually think this article is in error, please tell us.
 
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It's still "technically" a liquid.... again, I suggest reading the article.... the water is so hot that it SHOULD turn into steam (that's a gas by the way), but the immense pressure keeps it a liquid. Because it is so hot, however, it provides more energy than "normal" water would.

If you are simply arguing semantics, I suggest you troll elsewhere - if you actually think this article is in error, please tell us.
It's not semantics, though I do apologize for being so snotty about it. The article states:
"Water transitions into a supercritical state where it is no longer gas nor liquid."

It says, "nor liquid." Which means that the article is saying it's no longer a liquid, technically or not. Water, like any molecule or element structure, can only absorb a certain amount of heat (charge) before changing state. The water isn't providing the extra energy - the Earth's heat is. The water is storing and recycling it for a short period of time, sure, but pressure doesn't contain the heat. No level of pressure contains heat - look at the sun. Vast gravitational pressure, yet heat is expelled readily and in massive amounts. This is because the infrared photons are far smaller than larger, baryonic matter, you see. You can't create a vacuum devoid of photons. Even the walls of such a device would be emitting some charge, and heat is simply charge density in a given volume.

What's happening is that the water is actually ionized, and is becoming a plasma. This is also true of any element or molecule that is heated beyond its volumetric capacity. The infrared photons knock electrons out of the atomic structure and thus it becomes ionized - the definition of a plasma. It may move and flow with fluid-like properties, but is no longer a solid, liquid, or gas. Different structures have different properties in all four states, so water in the plasma state wouldn't act like, say, hydrogen or helium or another plasma.

My beef is that almost everyone knows what a plasma is, so there's no reason to write the article this way. If you think the water's a liquid, cool. But that's not what the article says, and that's not physically accurate. We should endeavor to educate people in our writings, not the opposite.
 

Squid Surprise

TS Evangelist
It's not semantics, though I do apologize for being so snotty about it. The article states:
"Water transitions into a supercritical state where it is no longer gas nor liquid."

It says, "nor liquid." Which means that the article is saying it's no longer a liquid, technically or not. Water, like any molecule or element structure, can only absorb a certain amount of heat (charge) before changing state. The water isn't providing the extra energy - the Earth's heat is. The water is storing and recycling it for a short period of time, sure, but pressure doesn't contain the heat. No level of pressure contains heat - look at the sun. Vast gravitational pressure, yet heat is expelled readily and in massive amounts. This is because the infrared photons are far smaller than larger, baryonic matter, you see. You can't create a vacuum devoid of photons. Even the walls of such a device would be emitting some charge, and heat is simply charge density in a given volume.

What's happening is that the water is actually ionized, and is becoming a plasma. This is also true of any element or molecule that is heated beyond its volumetric capacity. The infrared photons knock electrons out of the atomic structure and thus it becomes ionized - the definition of a plasma. It may move and flow with fluid-like properties, but is no longer a solid, liquid, or gas. Different structures have different properties in all four states, so water in the plasma state wouldn't act like, say, hydrogen or helium or another plasma.

My beef is that almost everyone knows what a plasma is, so there's no reason to write the article this way. If you think the water's a liquid, cool. But that's not what the article says, and that's not physically accurate. We should endeavor to educate people in our writings, not the opposite.
So it IS semantics.... the water is simply a liquid that is superheated... I refer you to wikipedia...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superheating

The article should have simply stated that, but arguing semantics is simply trolling past the first post.... No plasmas have been mentioned by the author, and no plasmas have been formed...When a liquid is superheated, it is simply still in a liquid state but, due to pressure and surface tension, etc, unable to transform into its gaseous state.... when it DOES eventually transform, it does so far more explosively than it would at its normal boiling point, which is why more energy is "harvested".

You say that almost everyone knows what a plasma is... perhaps you don't?

Plasma: an ionized gas consisting of positive ions and free electrons in proportions resulting in more or less no overall electric charge, typically at low pressures (as in the upper atmosphere and in fluorescent lamps) or at very high temperatures (as in stars and nuclear fusion reactors).

This is NOT the case here.... so not sure why you are raising it...
 
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So it IS semantics.... the water is simply a liquid that is superheated... I refer you to wikipedia...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superheating

The article should have simply stated that, but arguing semantics is simply trolling past the first post.... No plasmas have been mentioned by the author, and no plasmas have been formed...When a liquid is superheated, it is simply still in a liquid state but, due to pressure and surface tension, etc, unable to transform into its gaseous state.... when it DOES eventually transform, it does so far more explosively than it would at its normal boiling point, which is why more energy is "harvested".

You say that almost everyone knows what a plasma is... perhaps you don't?

Plasma: an ionized gas consisting of positive ions and free electrons in proportions resulting in more or less no overall electric charge, typically at low pressures (as in the upper atmosphere and in fluorescent lamps) or at very high temperatures (as in stars and nuclear fusion reactors).

This is NOT the case here.... so not sure why you are raising it...

I'm saying that that is incorrect. This would be a confined plasma, not a liquid, by the definition of liquid, plasma, and confined. The confinement only defines the volume's borders, not the activity inside that volume. Since we have an abundance of infrared charge photons (all heat is charge, and all charge is photons), we have the water trying to expand at all points, which is what a gas is to begin with. The heat knocks electrons around, ionizing the water, and at this temperature it is a plasma.

Surely you've heard of deionized water. Now if we heat this well beyond its boiling point and confine it in any given volume, it becomes a plasma. That's what a plasma is. It will often rapidly de-molecularize, but since we have it confined that effect may be dampened.

https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/water-and-plasma.390771/
 
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Squid Surprise

TS Evangelist
I'm saying that that is incorrect. This would be a confined plasma, not a liquid, by the definition of liquid, plasma, and confined. The confinement only defines the volume's borders, not the activity inside that volume. Since we have an abundance of infrared charge photons (all heat is charge, and all charge is photons), we have the water trying to expand at all points, which is what a gas is to begin with. The heat knocks electrons around, ionizing the water, and at this temperature it is a plasma.

Surely you've heard of deionized water. Now if we heat this well beyond its boiling point and confine it in any given volume, it becomes a plasma. That's what a plasma is. It will often rapidly de-molecularize, but since we have it confined that effect may be dampened.

https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/water-and-plasma.390771/
Once again... semantics... if you read the comments, you'll see that there really is no difference between "superheated liquid" and "plasma" as there are multiple definitions of plasma... by "correcting" the article, you are simply obfuscating the point the article was trying to make... which was simply that using a volcano to superheat allowed for more energy than normal... Yes, the article could have left out the "offending" line "neither liquid or gas", but there isn't really a point in posting on and on about it.... now it's just trolling...
 

Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
What surprised me more than the discussion of steam vs. energy is the "NEED" for the added resources. While Iceland is growing, it's not exactly booming in population or industrial applications so from all appearances, they simply want an over all cheaper means of capturing the energy. Considering the actual steam costs them zero, the over all costs of capturing and redistributing are very small compared to fossil fuel based applications. Superheated steam is not useful for heat transfer, but because of the immense velocity it can drive turbans extremely well.

From the power plant application it has certain limits and the wear/tear on surface parts can be very high, causing much more maintenance and regular downtime to replace parts. In today's power plants (including nuclear) there is an upper threshold at which point superheating is not as cost effective as lower pressures. Of course they could take this superheated steam and pass it through a reduction reactor to lower the pressure & temperature and bring it back down to an effecient temperature/pressure. Unfortunately they did not project what "pressures" of superheated steam they are expecting so we could do a better analysis of operating parameters and expected lifespan of the equipment, but certainly, "hopefully" they have already engineered this into the final equation.
 

Haunui

TS Rookie
As long as they don 't build a shield generator they'll be fine. We all know what happened to that planet on Stargate Atlantis!
 

MalcolmX

TS Rookie
It's still "technically" a liquid.... again, I suggest reading the article.... the water is so hot that it SHOULD turn into steam (that's a gas by the way), but the immense pressure keeps it a liquid. Because it is so hot, however, it provides more energy than "normal" water would.

If you are simply arguing semantics, I suggest you troll elsewhere - if you actually think this article is in error, please tell us.
It's not semantics, though I do apologize for being so snotty about it. The article states:
"Water transitions into a supercritical state where it is no longer gas nor liquid."

It says, "nor liquid." Which means that the article is saying it's no longer a liquid, technically or not. Water, like any molecule or element structure, can only absorb a certain amount of heat (charge) before changing state. The water isn't providing the extra energy - the Earth's heat is. The water is storing and recycling it for a short period of time, sure, but pressure doesn't contain the heat. No level of pressure contains heat - look at the sun. Vast gravitational pressure, yet heat is expelled readily and in massive amounts. This is because the infrared photons are far smaller than larger, baryonic matter, you see. You can't create a vacuum devoid of photons. Even the walls of such a device would be emitting some charge, and heat is simply charge density in a given volume.

What's happening is that the water is actually ionized, and is becoming a plasma. This is also true of any element or molecule that is heated beyond its volumetric capacity. The infrared photons knock electrons out of the atomic structure and thus it becomes ionized - the definition of a plasma. It may move and flow with fluid-like properties, but is no longer a solid, liquid, or gas. Different structures have different properties in all four states, so water in the plasma state wouldn't act like, say, hydrogen or helium or another plasma.

My beef is that almost everyone knows what a plasma is, so there's no reason to write the article this way. If you think the water's a liquid, cool. But that's not what the article says, and that's not physically accurate. We should endeavor to educate people in our writings, not the opposite.
You're absolutely right.. the big question is .. why sugar coat it by not calling it exactly what it is? Which is Plasma! Seems fishy ! Maybe they don't want us to know that they are actually using plasma! And tried to steer away from that word.. or the author doesn't honestly know what he was writing because, of what they told him ????? Conspiracy I think So !!
 
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Raoul Duke

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wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
"Water transitions into a supercritical state where it is no longer gas nor liquid."

So it's ICE. How is ice a supercritical state?

Unless you were failing to say that it's a plasma? How is this a "supercritical state"? What is ionizing it? What's critical about it? It's like you folks don't even know what heat is.
Really? Did YOU even read the article? Such as the part where they prefaced this statement by saying that they drilled 5km into the surface of the earth and that at that depth, water is super-critical? Did it ever occur to you that with those kinds of pressures and temperatures that exist 5km down that those temperatures and pressures have something to do with it? Water in nuclear power plant reactors is supercricital. They are NOT dealing with ICE. ICE could and would not exist at those depths because of the temperature and pressure. It is well-known physics.

If you care to educate yourself about the state, have a look here - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supercritical_fluid
 

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
It's still "technically" a liquid.... again, I suggest reading the article.... the water is so hot that it SHOULD turn into steam (that's a gas by the way), but the immense pressure keeps it a liquid. Because it is so hot, however, it provides more energy than "normal" water would.

If you are simply arguing semantics, I suggest you troll elsewhere - if you actually think this article is in error, please tell us.
It's not semantics, though I do apologize for being so snotty about it. The article states:
"Water transitions into a supercritical state where it is no longer gas nor liquid."

It says, "nor liquid." Which means that the article is saying it's no longer a liquid, technically or not. Water, like any molecule or element structure, can only absorb a certain amount of heat (charge) before changing state. The water isn't providing the extra energy - the Earth's heat is. The water is storing and recycling it for a short period of time, sure, but pressure doesn't contain the heat. No level of pressure contains heat - look at the sun. Vast gravitational pressure, yet heat is expelled readily and in massive amounts. This is because the infrared photons are far smaller than larger, baryonic matter, you see. You can't create a vacuum devoid of photons. Even the walls of such a device would be emitting some charge, and heat is simply charge density in a given volume.

What's happening is that the water is actually ionized, and is becoming a plasma. This is also true of any element or molecule that is heated beyond its volumetric capacity. The infrared photons knock electrons out of the atomic structure and thus it becomes ionized - the definition of a plasma. It may move and flow with fluid-like properties, but is no longer a solid, liquid, or gas. Different structures have different properties in all four states, so water in the plasma state wouldn't act like, say, hydrogen or helium or another plasma.

My beef is that almost everyone knows what a plasma is, so there's no reason to write the article this way. If you think the water's a liquid, cool. But that's not what the article says, and that's not physically accurate. We should endeavor to educate people in our writings, not the opposite.
You're absolutely right.. the big question is .. why sugar coat it by not calling it exactly what it is? Which is Plasma! Seems fishy ! Maybe they don't want us to know that they are actually using plasma! And tried to steer away from that word.. or the author doesn't honestly know what he was writing because, of what they told him ????? Conspiracy I think So !!
Sorry, but it is NOT plasma!