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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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