This is our last full day in Reykjavik and in Iceland. In the morning we visited the Hellisheiði Power Plant for the ON Geothermal Exhibition, which gives us a detailed introduction including the history of Iceland using geothermal energy and the significance of geothermal energy to Iceland.
To use geothermal energy, there must exist a geothermal area, which is created by groundwater flowing through hot layers of rock generated by volcanic activities. The geothermal areas are They are categorized based on the temperature of the water in the bedrock into high- or low-temperature areas. The locations of the high- and low-temperature areas is a result of the age and temperature of the bedrock, where production in high-temperature areas focuses on using steam to produce electricity. Eight power plants in total produce 30% of Iceland’s 100% renewable electricity. Whereas within low-temperature areas geothermal hot water can be used for space heating. Approximately 90% of people living in Iceland use geothermal energy for that purpose.
How they deal with the geothermal gas remaining in water such as carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide is also impressive. After the method of pumping the water back into the basaltic bedrock to let the gas turned into minerals by chemical combination is introduced, the percentage gets even lower.
We had a free afternoon again after we came back from the geothermal plant. Some of us went to the public pool (heated up by geothermal of course) to release the tiredness accumulated for three weeks. I personally walked around the main street downtown looking for souvenirs.
After dinner together, we all reflected on the whole trip. It is a pleasure to hear what people learned about Iceland from all aspects, how we grow by doing science and living together with each other and to think about what I achieved, accomplished and can do better.
I hope everyone can get some kind of sleep and ready to catch up the 8.30 am flight tomorrow. 🙂