The Land of Ice and Fire
The article on About.com, Geothermal Energy in Iceland by Ping Zhou demonstrates how this country utilizes its natural resources and basins to generate electricity, heating and make various tourist attractions. The article provides full information concerning geothermal energy output, its utilization in numerous spheres, benefits and history in the country. Iceland is known to be the land of Ice and Fire. The country is geographically endowed with a sufficiency of pure geothermal energy. The frenzied discrepant tectonic forces of both North American and Eurasian plates form the land of the country. Therefore, Iceland has a strong level of volcanism, which provides heat and magma close to the surface of this land. The facts show that these country’s geothermal resources currently contribute to about 25 percent of its overall electricity output and more than 90 percent of its building’s heating. The current paper demonstrates and analyzes when Iceland started using geothermal power, how the country utilizes it currently and how it helped the country to become more environmentally friendly.
Geothermal energy is known to be the power obtained from broaching into the natural inner heat sources of the Earth (Zhou, n.d.). Geothermal energy exists in the rocks of the Earth’s cover and is emitted at any place starting from the soil deposition and ending with the magma numerous miles lower (Taylor, n.d.). Therefore, all subterranean basins of evaporation and hot water can be used in order to produce electricity or provide heating to the buildings. These processes are typically operated by broaching evaporation and very hot water and utilizing these resources in order to drive turbines connected to electricity generators (Taylor, n.d.).
Despite the fact, that geothermal energy has been utilized in the country for more than a hundred years, it has become industrialized only during the 1940s (Zhou, n.d.). Ordinary people have originally utilized geothermal water and heat for the domestic household issues before the 1940s. They were used for wash-ups, laundry, heating, and cooking, but only in case when pipes were installed in the house (Zhou, n.d.). In fact, Iceland appeared to be a crucial strategic emplacement for the Allies of World War II (Taylor, n.d.). The presence of British and American troops allowed the Icelandic economy experiencing serious rapid increase. Reykjavik (the capital city of the country) has faced the possibility to invest slowly in its geothermal region heating system due to a wide variety of foreign earnings and costs incoming to Iceland (Zhou, n.d.).
Iceland itself started to widen further its geothermal infrastructure by evolving five key power plants, which helped to subdue the power of Earth. The Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Plant is known to be the most important out of all (Steadman, 2014). The plant is situated on the northeastern side of the Hengill volcano. The water from this place transfers via a special 16.78-mile pipeline, which goes to the Greater Reykjavik Area, providing the community with vapor heating and hot water (Zhou, n.d.). It is the most efficient and effective geothermal well around the globe. Geothermal energy in Iceland is utilized in a number of ways, incorporating building’s heating, swimming baths and pools, greenhouse farming, fish farming, industrious requirements, and melting of snow (Zhou, n.d.).
Iceland is known to have approximately 169 recreational facilities, and as many as 138 of them utilize geothermal heat. In fact, these figures do not include natural hot springs, nature bathhouses, or thermal shores (Philips, 2014). Therefore, swimming is very popular in Iceland. There are approximately 20 omnibus swimming pools in the capital city (Zhou, n.d.). In addition, the global most prominent hot spring called the Blue Lagoon is located 24 miles from Reykjavik. The spa is also heated with a help of natural geothermal remedies. The lagoon near the spring is artificial and it is supplied by super thermal water from the congenial Svartsengi Power Station (Steadman, 2014). The water in the Blue Lagoon cannot be recycled due to its high concentration of minerals. Therefore, it has to be changed and disposed every two days into the neighboring landscape, which consists of a lax lava field. The natural silicate of the water is the main factor, which provides this place with a well-known milky blue shade. This place is Iceland’s number one on the list of various tourist attractions (Zhou, n.d.). The following picture demonstrates all the beauty and mysteriousness of Blue Lagoon, thus, it is clear why it became so popular.
Blue Lagoon. Picture courtesy of Carleton College.
Geothermal snow melting structures and facilities have developed rapidly during the last twenty years (Philips, 2014). Currently, the majority of new car parking locations and roadways are generated by a melting system being installed in them. Geothermal water from the building heating comes back having 95°F and is typically recycled in order to provide the de-icing of roads, parking lots, and sideways (Steadman, 2014). In a case, when the load is extremely serious, the coming water will be compounded with incoming hot water at 176°F to provide saturated snow melting (Zhou, n.d.). A snow-melting infrastructure and facilities have been installed to supply water to a location of more than 50,000m² in Reykjavik (Philips, 2014). As Iceland is known to have a high level of latitude and short growing season, greenhouses are believed to be a highly important constituent of the agricultural life of the country. The process of warming greenhouses with geothermal power started in 1924 (Zhou, n.d.). Geothermal vapor is typically utilized to boil and fumigate the soil, at the same time when geo-thermally obtained CO2 is primarily utilized to fortify plants (Philips, 2014).
Despite the fact that the whole Iceland utilizes geothermal energy, Reykjavik is probably the luckiest geological location. The energy taken from the subterranean hot springs is utilized to provide electricity and warm as much as 95 percent of all its facilities and buildings (Gipe, 2012). Moreover, the capital of Iceland is known to be among the greenest cities around the globe in regards to CO² emissions (Gipe, 2012). Reykjavik is well-known for its title of the global biggest and the most experienced geothermal heating user (Steadman, 2014). The city started to use hot water in order to warm its facilities in 1930. Currently, geothermal energy generates the power for the whole city. The use of natural resources allowed the capital seriously reducing the subjection to fossil fuels and made Reykjavik one of the cleanest cities around the globe (Gipe, 2012). The achievements of this city in the field of “green energy” are merely remarkable. The capital obtains 100 percent of its energy from its natural resources known to be renewable, environmentally friendly, and cheap (Gipe, 2012).
Map of Geothermal Energy in Iceland. Picture courtesy of Water and Fire.
The map allows to see that Iceland is obviously very rich is geothermal power. Iceland’s practice and experience in utilizing geothermal energy are amazing. This natural gift allows this country utilizing geothermal energy for the majority of requirements. Despite the fact that Iceland is merely lucky due to its location, it skillfully and expertly utilizes geothermal energy for a proper use of natural resources and basins. The current paper demonstrated that the utilization of geothermal energy provides numerous advantages, including house heating, generating of electricity, greenhouse usage in agriculture, tourists and citizens’ attractions, etc. In addition, it provided the country with a possibility to seriously lower its dependence on fossil fuels and decrease the level of CO2 emission, which made it the most eco-friendly and ‘green’ location around the globe. Therefore, an old English proverb “Greenland is icy and Iceland is green” is true in all its senses.