Getting ready for the World Geothermal Congress 2020+1 starting Oct. 24, 2021 in Reykjavik, Iceland, ThinkGeoEnergy is collaborating with Green by Iceland and Iceland Geothermal, a cluster initiative by the Iceland geothermal energy sector on a short interview series.
Today, meet Arna Pálsdóttir, Ph.D. Specialist, Chemical Engineering of local utility Reykjavik Energy (Orkuveita Reykjavikur). Reykjavik Energy is a utility company owned by three municipalities. Through three subsidiaries, resources are utilised in a sustainable and cost-effective manner to serve households, businesses and institutions in accordance with statutory obligations at fair and competitive prices. The company’s subsidiaries are the geothermal heat utility Veitur, Reykjavik Fiber Network, and geothermal power plant operator ON Power. To the company belongs also Carbon Capture/ Storage company CarbFix.
1. Any suggestions for WGC attendees that are “must-see” while they are in Iceland?
My top priority would be to visit one of Reykjavik’s swimming pools, lounge around in the hot and cold tubs and visit the sauna. Taking a hike in the Hengill area is also a fun option to see the visible evidence of geothermal energy around Reykjavik.
2. How did you come to work for Reykjavik Energy, and how has this changed your view on sustainable energy?
I started working for Reykjavik Energy straight out of graduate school. Given that I’m Icelandic, I was very familiar with sustainable energy when I started my job. But what has changed the most is my understanding of the effect sustainable energy has on Iceland. It is a cornerstone in how we have structured our society and greatly affects the culture.
3. Talk about your company’s area of expertise?
Reykjavik Energy is both an energy producer and a utility company. We operate two co-generative geothermal power plants and manage the district heating system, the waterworks, the sewage system, and a fiber-optic network in several communities in southwestern Iceland.
4. How many countries have you worked in with geothermal?
I’ve mostly worked in the geothermal industry in Iceland but, I had a solid introduction to the geothermal industry in the US during my doctoral studies at Cornell University in the US.
5. What is one of your favourite projects, and why?
My favourite project is the extensive research project that I’m working on these days. It revolves around merging the district heating system in Reykjavik into one system. It involves a lot of fun chemistry and process engineering. It can significantly enhance the resource utilization at Reykjavik Energy, which will allow our current resources to keep the inhabitants of Reykjavik warm into the future.
6. How do you see the long-term future for geothermal energy?
I think the future is bright! The potential of geothermal is huge to offset carbon emissions by replacing other energy sources for heating and cooling. It’s our duty to spread information about geothermal energy possibilities worldwide, and hopefully, a conference like the WGC will help to do that.
Meet Reykjavik Energy at the World Geothermal Congress 2020+1, Oct. 24-27, 2021 at the Iceland Pavillion on the exhibition floors.