Innovation and Networks Executive Agency

H2020 project has drilled into heart of Iceland volcano

Creation date: February 2, 2017

Geologists funded by Horizon 2020 in the DEEPEGS project has completed drilling into a volcano - located on Reykjanes peninsula in south-west of Iceland - which last erupted 700 years ago. Never before has it been explored what lies beneath this geothermal field.

The researchers have penetrated over 4.6 km down, creating the deepest-ever volcanic borehole and recorded temperature of 427°C, but expect that the hole will get hotter when they widen it.

The next stage will be to pump cold water into the well, which will open it up. The aim is to tap into the steam at the bottom to provide a source of geothermal energy.

If successful, the project could be a starting point for highly efficient energy production: the well reached a supercritical fluid, which has much higher energy content than conventional geothermal sites.  According to Think Geoenergy, the project partners estimate the output on 35 to 50 MW, whereas a typical output from a convential well is about 5 MW.

DEEPEGS has been funded in the Horizon 2020 Competitive Low-Carbon Energy call to demonstrate renewable electricity and heating/cooling technologies. It received almost €20 million from the EU. The overall cost of the project is €44 million.

The BBC, Der Tagesspiegel and Think Geoenergy covered the project results. the news was also reported by Icelandic national media, such as the major newspapers Morgunblaðið and Fréttablaðið, and the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service RUV.

Read more on DEEPEGS' website.