Geothermal power in Iceland

The Geothermal energy is Iceland's main source of energy.

  • 2.2.1 Nejsavellir power plant
  • 2.2.2 Hellisheiði power plant
  • 2.3.1 Krafla power plant
  • 2.3.2 Bjarnaflagsstöð
  • 4.1 Named power plants
  • 4.2 Other links
  • 4.3 photos

General information on geothermal energy in Iceland

The island in the North Atlantic has an unusual amount of active volcanic systems (different counting methods are possible, Thor Thordarson speaks of from about 31 volcanic systems). Iceland has therefore long been placed an emphasis on the exploration of relationships between geological conditions, geothermal energy, water management and energy research. Researchers from Iceland also work closely with the technical college for geothermal UN in Tokyo. From this research, numerous technical innovations have emerged. Today, Iceland is related to the use of geothermal energy in the world rankings.

41.7 PJ, or about 60 % of primary energy in Iceland comes from geothermal energy ( 2009).

In daily life, it turns out that geothermal energy is extremely inexpensive. Judging by continental European standards, it is used quite extravagant. For example, some pavements in Reykjavík and Akureyri are heated in winter by always leave laid under roads and pavements or the waste heat from the district heating which uses still is around 30C- 40C some heat pipes, the.

In general there are in the Icelandic district heating networks no closed water cycle but the hot mostly sulphurous water of natural origin or produced by means of heat exchange process with about 90C -60C passed directly to customers and 30C- 40C disposed of there after use with some in the channel or also conducted in hot tubs or swimming pools outdoors or used for ice prevention. If this warm "waste water" for direct use in swimming pools, etc. due to the ingredients may not be suitable as is so heated and used via heat exchanger clean drinking water for this purpose.

Heating and power stations

There are five major geothermal power plants in Iceland, about 24.5 % (2008 ) of the electrical energy requirement of the country cover. In addition, the geothermal heat provides heating and hot water for approximately 90% of Icelandic households.

With geothermal energy and hydropower Iceland covers 100 percent of its electricity needs from renewable sources ..

On the Reykjanes peninsula in southwest Iceland

Svartsengi power plant

The Svartsengi power plant is located in the southwest of the island, near the international airport in Keflavik. There are especially a lot of geothermal energy due to the volcanism. It was discovered in 1969 when drilling a high thermal field in Grindavík (over 200 ° in 1000 - 2000 m ). This is part of the volcanic system Svartsengi.

The Svartsengi power plant will produce after the commissioning of a 30 MW turbine in December 2007, 76.5 MW of electrical power in steam turbines and about 475 liters / sec. almost boiling water ( 90 ° C ), since the original water contains about 80 MW in the heat exchange process too much salts and minerals. From the effluents of the power station, the famous spa Bláa Lónið (also Reykjanesskagi Blue Lagoon, qv), was born.

It was hoped originally that the excess water would seep into the normally quite permeable lava. Apparently, you have been deceived herein, since the blue-green lake in the lava is growing. It is believed that in the waste materials are contained, which would close the "pores" of the lava. This could represent a new environmental problem.

The construction of the power plant was awarded in 2002 as the largest Icelandic engineering feat of the decade 1971-1980.

Reykjanes power plant

The Reykjanes power plant (also called Southern Peninsula Power Plant ) is located west of Svartsengi power plant on the southwestern tip of Iceland and uses the energy of the westernmost volcanic system of Iceland, which is also called Reykjanes and the central high-temperature region is at the Gunnuhver.

It had a 0.5 -MW turbine for many years. There is now a new power plant was built with two 50 MW steam turbines. The first was in May and the second in July 2006 to the network.

In the area of the central volcano Hengill

Nejsavellir power plant

→ Main article: Nejsavellir power plant

The power plant of Nejsavellir in the southwest of the island, near the Þingvallavatn and is the largest geothermal power station in Iceland. It currently produces 120 MW of electrical power and about 1800 liters / sec. hot water ( 300 MW).

The volcanic heat of the central volcano Hengill is used by means of springs and wells.

The Reykjavík for heating and general supply used with hot water water does not come directly from the wells and hot springs at Hengill. It would be too rich in decomposing minerals. It is instead a heat exchange processes: Cold water from other springs in the area is heated in pipes by means of hot water from the earth at about 86 ° C. Then it passes through 32 km long pipelines on the Hellisheiði to Reykjavík, losing only 3 ° C of temperature.

The water is in huge boilers (see Perlan ) collected and distributed as needed. In summer, a part of the production for the greater need in winter is retained.

Hellisheiði power plant

A fifth geothermal power plant has been taken at the 2006 Hellisheiði in operation and uses as that of Nejsavellir the energy of the central volcano Hengill. Six 45 -MW high-pressure steam turbines and two 30 MW low-pressure turbines were planned. In addition, hot water is produced for district heating in the heat exchange process.

The expansion takes place gradually. 2006 90 MW were installed. The first turbine with a capacity of 45 MW was on 1 October 2006 to the network, the second ( also 45 MW) on 16 October 2006. In November 2007, a 33 MW low-pressure turbine went to the net and on 15 November 2008, two 45 MW turbines inaugurated and increased the capacity of the power plant to 214 MW.

On the first of October 2011, the last two 45 MW turbines were put into operation. The plant now makes 303 MW of electricity and 133 MW of warm water.

In the area of ​​Mývatn in northeast Iceland

Krafla power plant

→ Main article: Krafla power plant

The power plant of Krafla is located in the northeast of the island, close to Lake Mývatn and - as the name says - the volcano Krafla. It currently provides an output of 60 MW.


A small 3 MW geothermal power uses the energy of the same central volcano: Bjarnaflagsstöð the Reykjahlíð.

Hot water storage Perlan

Main article: Perlan

In the capital, Reykjavík hot water is stored in the Perlan. This provides for a town with hot water, on the other hand it replaced in many parts of the city winter maintenance, as are heated from here the streets and sidewalks. Moreover, the building was converted into a tourist attraction. Under a glass dome on the huge hot water tanks are a small Saga Museum, a restaurant and shops; it is a very good vantage point to Reykjavík area.