Svalbard can use geothermal energy

Geothermal energy may be an alternative for heating and energy production for the settlements on Svalbard. Geothermal energy is a stable and reliable energy source with low impact on the environment and available when needed regardless of season or weather.

04.03.2016 by Gunn Janne Myrseth

Svalbard can use geothermal energy

Photo: Gunn Janne Myrseth, Head of Communication CMR

An article in today’s Svalbardposten by SINTEF and University of Bergen, focused on the energy situation on Svalbard. The article referred to our  research project together with Malte Jochmann at Store Norske. The project has investigated the possibilities for generating geothermal energy on Svalbard. Kirsti Midttømme has been CMR`s project leader. The conclusions are positive: Geothermal energy can be used for electricity production, as a heat source in district heating systems or harnessed for heating and cooling using ground source heat pump (GSHP) installations.

If geothermal energy is to replace fossil fuels it must be compatible with both power and heat production. New geothermal Organic Rankine Cycle turbines, demonstrated in a remote area in Alaska, make it possible to produce electricity at water temperatures of 74 ?C. The demand for heating in Arctic regions is higher than the electricity demand. Hence, combining geothermal power production and utilizing waste heat in existing district heating systems is a suitable solution for settlements in artic regions like Longyearbyen and Ny Ålesund.

The project details
Distributed fiber optic technology is being exploited to provide high quality and undisturbed temperature measurements from exploration boreholes. An inhouse finite element basin model and a Comsol multiphysics model describing the temperature distribution of the subsurface have been developed. These models have demonstrated high consistency with real measurement data.

Media coverage: Svalbardposten 3. mars 2016