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Research project on the roots of geothermal systems

19.6.2013

The science community, energy companies and Orkustofnun have agreed to devote about ISK 100 million to research on the interaction of water and magma in volcanic roots.  To learn how this interaction occurs and how heat is transferred from the magma into the geothermal systems is key to acquiring a deeper understanding of the rational utilization of geothermal energy.

The cooperative project, titled "DEEP ROOTS OF GEOTHERMAL SYSTEMS" (DRG), is managed within the cluster cooperation of GEORG and is financially supported by GEORG, Orkustofnun, Reykjavik Energy, HS Orka, Landsvirkjun and the Iceland Deep Drilling Project (IDDP).

The aim of the project is to understand the relationship of water and magma in the roots of volcanoes and how heat is transferred into geothermal systems to maintain their energy. Furthermore, the design of wells and well heads for high temperatures will be a focus of the project, as will methods for utilizing superheated steam from greater depths.

The research will be performed by three groups made up of representatives from universities, research institutes, engineering companies and energy companies.  The latest technology will be applied in surveying, resistance measurements and seismic measurements, petrology and geochemistry. In addition, new simulation models will be developed.  These models will be used to simulate heat transfer and operation of geothermal boreholes for high temperature steam.  Training young scientists to work in this field will be an area of heavy focus for this project.

The project duration is three years and the partners have pledged direct financial support for the project amounting to just over ISK 99 million. In addition, they will provide support through other similar projects the partners are working on.

GEORG is an international geothermal cooperative cluster on research and development of geothermal energy.  GEORG was established in 2009 with a grant from the research program of the Science and Technology Policy of Iceland.  The cooperation consists of 22 domestic and foreign stakeholders; universities, scientific institutions and companies in the field of geosciences and geothermal.