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Home* News and Stories → Geo­ther­mal ener­gy in Lon­gye­ar­by­en?

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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last modification: 2014-07-01 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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