facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Volcanic magma could be power source

Feb. 17, 2011 at 5:21 PM   |   Comments

| License Photo
DAVIS, Calif., Feb. 17 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists drilling near an Icelandic volcano say hitting magma, molten rock from Earth's core, could point to an alternative source for geothermal power.

The team intended to drill 15,000 feet into the Krafla caldera to test whether very hot water under very high pressure could be used as a source of power when magma flowed into the well at 6,900 feet, ScienceDaily.com reported Thursday.

"Because we drilled into magma, this borehole could now be a really high-quality geothermal well," Peter Schiffmann, professor of geology at the University of California, Davis, said.

The magma well produced dry steam at 750 degrees Fahrenheit, which researchers estimated could generate up to 25 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 25,000 to 30,000 homes, ScienceDaily.com reported Thursday.

A typical geothermal well, harvesting steam from heat found deep in the Earth's crust but not involving magma, produces about 5 to 8 megawatts, the researchers said.

Iceland already gets about one-third of its electricity and almost all of its home heating from geothermal sources, project leader Wilfred Elders, a geology professor at UC Riverside, said.

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Report: iPhone 6 can bend in pockets Report: iPhone 6 can bend in pockets
2
Watch India insert its Mars orbiter live online Watch India insert its Mars orbiter live online
3
Brazil holdout undermines anti-deforestation agreement at climate summit Brazil holdout undermines anti-deforestation agreement at climate summit
4
Antarctic fish have antifreeze in their veins Antarctic fish have antifreeze in their veins
5
Populist science: Pluto is a planet Populist science: Pluto is a planet
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback