Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Iceland: Deep Drilling Geothermal Project to Reach 5 km and 500°C in "Next Couple of Weeks"

World's hottest borehole nearly complete (BBC News)

Courtesy Alison Francis
Geologists say they are close to creating the hottest borehole in the world. They are drilling into the heart of a volcano in the south-west of Iceland.

They have told the BBC that they should reach 5 km down, where temperatures are expected to exceed 500°C, in the next couple of weeks.

When the drill gets to 5 km, the team expects to find molten rock mixed with water. But with the extreme heat and immense pressure found at this depth, the water becomes what is known as "supercritical steam".

It is neither a liquid nor a gas, but it holds far more energy than either. And it is this supercritical steam that the team wants to bring back up to the surface to convert into electricity.

"We hope that this will open new doors for the geothermal industry globally to step into an era of more production," said Asgeir Margeirsson, CEO of the Iceland Deep Drilling Project (IDDP), a collaboration between scientists, industry and the Icelandic government.