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Daily Archives: 29. December 2013 − News & Stories


Geo­ther­mal ener­gy in Lon­gye­ar­by­en?

The ques­ti­on for Longyearbyen’s future ener­gy sup­p­ly still needs to be ans­we­red. The local coal power plant is now get­ting old, and the local CO2 emis­si­ons per per­son are curr­ent­ly among­st the hig­hest in the world, emit­ting about 65,000 tons of CO2 per year – for just abo­ve 2,000 inha­bi­tants.

Now Mal­te Joch­mann, seni­or geo­lo­gist of the Nor­we­gi­an mining com­pa­ny Store Nor­ske, has brought geo­ther­mal ener­gy into the dis­cus­sion. Sval­bard is per­ma­frost area, but below the per­ma­frost, the geo­ther­mal gra­di­ent is stee­per than in Nor­way. The reason is pos­si­ble the shorter distance to the midd­le atlan­tic ridge.

Warm springs are known from the Bock­fjord-area on the north coast of Spits­ber­gen, but the warm springs the­re are small com­pared to tho­se for exam­p­le in Ice­land. Bock­fjord is too far from the sett­le­ments to use that area tech­ni­cal­ly (and it is a Natio­nal Park). But the­re is the pos­si­bi­li­ty that a geo­ther­mal heat reser­voir exists also in cen­tral Spits­ber­gen, whe­re Lon­gye­ar­by­en is, at depths that may be usable. Espe­ci­al­ly if car­bo­na­te lay­ers are found whe­re hot waters tend to cir­cu­la­te in karst caves. The poten­ti­al of geo­ther­mal heat won’t compa­re to Ice­land, but it is not about buil­ding alu­mi­ni­um plants, but to sup­p­ly a place as small as Lon­gyea­by­en with just abo­ve 2,000 peo­p­le with warmth and pos­si­bly elec­tri­ci­ty.

The exis­tence of sui­ta­ble rocks and heat reser­voirs in reacha­ble depths is still to be pro­ven, and sci­en­ti­fi­cal­ly, eco­no­mic­al­ly and poli­ti­cal­ly it is still a long way to go until geo­ther­mal heat may or may not be used in Lon­gye­ar­by­en.

Warm spring in Bock­fjord: Trollkjeld­ane (“troll springs”). The­se springs are 8 km inland and lar­ger than Jotunk­jeld­ane, which are clo­se to the coast of Bock­fjord.

Warm springs: Trolljeldane in Bockfjord on the north coast of Spitsbergen

Source: Teknisk Uke­blad

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