Icelandic Deep Drilling Project - IDDP
An Icelandic energy consortium composed of three Icelandic energy companies (Hitaveita Sudurnesja, Landsvirkjun and Orkuveita Reykjavíkur) was established in the year 2000. The consortium is working on a scientific study into harnessing supercritical geothermal fluid.
Dry steam under high pressure and at a temperature of 400-600°C in a supercritical condition has never been used in electricity generation. Reaching it requires drilling to a depth of 4-5 km. Theoretically, boreholes of this type could yield ten times the power of current boreholes. On the other hand, there is a high level of uncertainty concerning the chemical composition of fluids at such great depths, in addition to many technical hurdles that need to be overcome before it can be decided whether energy from deep drillings can be exploited profitably. High temperatures and pressure up to 250 times that on the surface create diverse technical difficulties that have yet to be resolved.
A decision was made in 2006 to deep drill a borehole on the Krafla site, operated by Landsvirkjun. Hitaveita Sudurnesja and Orkuveita Reykjavíkur have also decided to drill deep boreholes on their geothermal power generating sites. There is a general agreement for joint scientific research by the consortium for the deep drilling borehole at Krafla and in the other areas. In July 2007, a new agreement was signed concerning the project, and in addition Alcoa joined the group of participants. This was followed by procurement of materials and negotiations concerning the implementation of the drilling under the supervision of Landsvirkjun Power engineer Bjarni Pálsson.
The deep drilling project is a costly long-term research and development project that is very broad in scope. It will take at least 10 years to estimate the feasibility of the project for future harnessing of geothermal energy in Iceland. Landsvirkjun Power believes that this research project will not affect the progress or implementation of other preparatory studies or construction of other geothermal or hydroelectric projects in the next few years.