|Credit: Chris Baraniuk/ DEEPEGS|
Using state-of-the-art drilling technology, engineers have dug more than 4.5 km below the earth's surface in an attempt to harness the endless geothermal energy inside our planet.
Hjalti Páll Ingólfsson, from the Geothermal Research Group (GEORG) in Iceland, works on the DEEPEGS project, partly funded by the EU, under which a team of geothermal researchers recently drilled the world's deepest well in an active volcanic area — the HS Orka geothermal field in Iceland — reaching a depth of 4,659 metres. They hope to tap into the limitless supply of geothermal energy by accessing searing hot water under such extreme pressure that it's in a supercritical state, which has properties of both a gas and a liquid.
'Supercritical conditions can increase the power output of a typical (geothermal) well by 10 times,' said Ingólfsson. 'That's at least the theory, and our aim with doing this demonstration is to see if the theory is true.'