During the past year, the MEET demosites in Iceland, at Grásteinn and Krauma, have drawn quite the attention to possibilities of using Organic Rankine Cycle(ORC) technology to produce electricity from low-temperature geothermal sources in Iceland.
The first demonstration site, Grásteinn, is a small family farm in southeastern Iceland, close to the town of Hveragerði, which is named after it’s proximity to hot springs. In recent years, the farm owner has been turning the farmland into residential areas, and with it comes increased demand for hot water and electricity, something a geothermal ORC system could help solve.
The second demonstration site, Krauma Baths, is a luxury geothermal bath site in Borgarfjörður, west Iceland. The water in the baths comes from Deildartunguhver, the most powerful hot spring in europe, which also provides hot water to nearby municipalities. By utilizing an ORC, Krauma can cool down the water entering the pools in a way which produces more than enough electricity to power the baths themselves and nearby staff houses.
Traditionally, low-temperature geothermal resources have been in use in Iceland since settlement, for bathing, washing and in later times, mostly for house heating. However, this resource, which is present widely in Iceland, has rarely been used for power production. This is mostly due to the fact that electricity is quite cheap in Iceland.
A news image from the largest newspaper in Iceland, showing MEET partners from IceTec and Enogia along with Kjartan Björnsson, the owner of the Grásteinn Farm. Fréttablaðið/Valli.
With increased interest in power sustainability and security, ORC power plants are becoming an attractive option for farmers, geothermal baths and countryside district heating companies. A few impactful news pieces have been written on the subject in the past year, and various individuals have contacted the Icelandic MEET project members to declare their interest and to attain further information on how they might utilize this technology. It is our hope that the MEET ORC demonstrations will contribute to further increase the utilization of this energy resource in Iceland.