News

Well drilled in Iceland as part of IDDP project estimated at 27MW

Drilling rig at Vitismó well, Krafla, Iceland (source: IDDP)
Alexander Richter 9 Oct 2010

A well drilled as part of the Iceland Deep Drilling Project (IDDP) at the Krafla geothermal field in Northern Iceland is now estimated at a potential capacity of 27MW, the most powerful geothermal well in Iceland.

The Vitismó well drilled as part of the International Iceland Deep Drilling Project, is estimated with a potential capacity of up to 27MW. ThinkGeoEnergy reported before about the project at Krafla, which hit a magma chamber earlier this spring, (article) and was then planned to explore further options (article).

This is reported by Icelandic paper, Morgunbladid. According to the news, “testings last month have shown that the well is among the most powerful ones in Iceland and that it could provide up to 27MW in capacity. In comparison, 20 wells at the Krafla geothermal power plant close by provide together around 60MW.

The well was the first in the Iceland Deep Drilling Project, which is a joint project by Icelandic and international players. It was planned to drill to a depth of 4,500m, but came to an abrupt stop at 2,100m when magma came in and the drilling bit got stuck.

As a result the project got stuck and the idea was raised to utilize the well for electricity generation at the Krafla power plant. The planned cost associated with the well were about ISK1.5bn (US$12m) and Landsvirkjun (the National Power Company) is the owner of the well.

“It is obvious that this well is a great source of power”, says Bjarni Pálsson, engineer at Landsvirkjun Power. “The well provides 32kg of very hot steam per second and about 17-27 MW could be utilized, depending on turbine technology used. If the well output would be used in the Krafla power plant close by it could provide about 17-20MW. If a turbine would be bought that is specially designed for this well and well output, then it could provide 25-27MW capacity. This is about 5-times as the average well at the Krafla geothermal field.

There is though one problem, and this is the difficulty of dealing with chlorine gas in the steam, which could corrode the pipes. Therefore the steam would need to be filtered in a way to make it safe for use in the turbine. While this is a known problem, it represents a bigger issue than experienced in other projects. We also need to ensure the sustainability of the well output”, says Bjarni.

There is so far no decision on the continuation of the IDDP project. After the drilling at the Vitismó well, it as planned to drill at the Hellisheidi field and on the Reykjanes peninsual, but the situation around the energy companies has changed in the last few years. Beside Landsvirkjun, the Icelandic players Reyjavik Energy (Orkuveita Reyjavikur), HS Orka, and the Energy Authority, as well as the international companies Alcoa and Statoil are part of the research at the Vitismó well.

Source: Morgunbladid (Icelandic, in parts only)