Geologists in Iceland have drilled deeper into the heart of a volcano than ever before in an audacious bid to harness geothermal energy.
The volcanic borehole in the south-west of the country is now nearly three miles deep (4,559m) and boasts temperatures of up to 427C.
But engineers are hopeful that after the shaft is widened with cold water in coming weeks, the base will reach 500C, making it the world’s hottest borehole.
At the bottom of the well, molten rock and extreme pressure transform water into a “supercritical” state more energetic than liquid or gas. It’s then captured and brought to the surface.
Developers of the Iceland deep drilling project hope the well will generate 10 times more energy than existing geothermal wells.
Originally, the engineers had intended to drill down to 5,000m, but boring became increasingly difficult and they had reached high enough pressures.
“We knew we had reached our goal, so we decided it was the right time to stop drilling. Mission accomplished,” Gudmundur Omar Fridleifsson, from HS Orka, an energy company part-funding the plant, told the BBC.
While drilling has been completed, it will be another three years before the mission on the Reykjanes peninsula is concluded.
With a population of more than 300,000 people, Iceland generates almost all of its energy from indigenous renewable sources.
Methane gas at the bottom of a lake in Rwanda is harnessed to generate electricity. Two million people live along the shores of Lake Kivu, with 78 percent of all Rwandans going without access to electricity on a daily basis. The possibility of gas extraction from the lake for energy production led to the Kivuwatt biogas project launching in 2016. If the 25MW biogas plant is successful, the project will add a further 75MW – increasing Rwanda’s current energy capacity by more than 50 percent.
Booze isn’t all bad
It is no secret the Scots enjoy a wee dram or two, and those canny folk have turned it into big business. Now they have taken the distillery process one step further in the name of sustainability. Edinburgh-based Celtic Renewables unveiled their first sample of biofuel (or biobutanol) made from Scotch whisky by-products in 2015. With high hopes of building its first demonstration facility at Grangemouth petrochemical
Just keep swimming
Across England, crematoriums are heating swimming pools. That’s right, Redditch Crematorium in Worcestershire is saving its local pool around £15,000 per year by diverting unwanted heat to better use. And in Durham, the Durham Crematorium (pictured) has installed two turbines in its burners, selling excess energy back to the national grid. Waste not, want not, right?
Dancing can save the world
In Holland, they’re hitting the dance floor in the name of sustainability. First launched in 2008, the Sustainable Dance Floor made its way to a club in Rotterdam. The concept is simple: the better the music, the more people on the dance floor and the more sustainable kinetic energy created. With the average person generating about 20 watts’ worth, a full club will be able to power itself each and every night.
Power to the poop
Newborn babies can go through up to 10 nappies per day on average. In Japan, adult nappies are on the rise as an ageing population increases. That’s a lot of paper nappies making their way to a landfill site. That is why Japanese company Super Faiths Inc. has devised a way to convert these – after a fermentation, shredding and drying process – into ‘fluffy fuel chips’. The chips are odourless and contain 5000 kcal of heat per kilogram and are to be used in biomass heating and electricity systems.