Eco-Friendly Transportation in Whale watching in Iceland

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North of Iceland in a town called Húsavík is a very forward thinking whale watching company called North sailing.  In their fleet they is a transformed electrical schooner “Opal”. This vessel has an outer appearance of a traditional gaff rigged sailing ship, but is without a doubt the most technologically advance ship in the North sailing fleet.

Opal is the first ship in the world to feature specifically designed Regenerative Plug-In Hybrid Propulsion System, and is equipped to recharge the batteries while under sails. On a day-to-day basis, the ship’s batteries will be recharged when docked, utilizing the sustainable, green energy of Iceland’s power grid, much of which is supplied by Landsvirkjun, the National Power Company of Iceland. During whale watching tours, the electric motor will silently propel the boat, but when the ship is under sails, the propeller blades can be modified and used to recharge the ship’s batteries. This technique has never been used on a sea vessel before.

The new electric system is not only eco-friendly and carbon-free, but it also minimizes the disturbance to the whales, enabling the ship and its passengers to get closer to the majestic animals. From this day on, Opal will run solely on eco-friendly electricity, and the old diesel engine will only be used for emergencies. Along with the engine changes, the ship’s hull has been overhauled and strengthened, and the sailing gear has been modified to better utilize the wind energy.

Jón Björn Skúlason, General Manager of Icelandic New Energy, says that North Sailing’s developmental work has not gone unnoticed and that it has been carefully monitored from abroad: “This project has utilized technology from many different sources, coming together in a unique, never-before-seen, novelty. I think this is one of the biggest events in the utilization of eco-friendly energy that has taken place in Iceland in a long time.” Icelandic New Energy’s largest shareholders are the Icelandic State, Reykjavík Energy, Landsvirkjun and HS Orka.

About The Schooner Opal
The Schooner Opal is one of the latest additions to North Sailing’s Fleet. Built at Bodenwerft shipyard in Damgarten, Germany in 1951, she served as a trawler in the Baltic – and North Sea, and in the Barents Sea. In 1973, new owners started her restoration. During eight years until 1981, Opal was converted to the elegant but seaworthy, double masted schooner she is today. She has sailed all over the world, completing several trans-Atlantic crossings, being carefully maintained through the years. Opal remained with the same owners, until becoming part of North Sailing’s fleet in early 2013. She has undergone restoration and had interior work done to better fit her for the new purpose as an expedition ship.

About North Sailing
North Sailing is a family owned company, founded in Húsavík in 1995. It was the first whale watching tour operator in Iceland to offer regular whale watching tours. The company has grown steadily, along with its growing number of customers, and the fleet has grown from one ship to eight. Apart from the Whale Watching, North Sailing owns and runs the restaurant Gamli Baukur, the coffee house Hvalbakur, and the Húsavíkurslippur shipyard. North Sailing has received numerous honors and awards internationally and domestically for consistently delivering outstanding quality experiences for its customers.

 

National Energy Authority of Iceland introduces a new geothermal research project Geothermica

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Led by Iceland‘s National Energy Authority, the Geothermal research project called Geothermica is worth 30 mill EUR aims to support and accelerate development of geothermal utilization within the participating European countries.

The National Energy Authority of Iceland (NEA) have newly introduced a geothermal research project, which was discussed on a local news media in Iceland. NEA will serve as head of the project in a big cooperative geothermal research project with sixteen administrative and research centers in thirteen European countries. The project called Geothermia will aim to support and accelerate development of geothermal utilization within the participating countries. To achieve the goals the participants have contributed over EUR 30 million ($33 million) into a fund that will be used to support the innovation and development of geothermal energy.

10 EU countries participating in the partnership; Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Romania and Slovenia, as well as Iceland, Switzerland and Turkey related to the project through an agreement with the EU, including the EEA Agreement. They are to share research funds from the participating countries on the one hand and the EU on the other hand for research and innovation in the field of geothermal energy, and to promote business networks and the geothermal sector in Europe. Then the plan is to establish strategic alliances among those who provide funding for geothermal research and innovation.

Hjalti Páll Ingólfsson, Manager of the GEORG research cluster in Iceland and Program manager for Geothermic, values this project to be also useful in Iceland. It provides opportunities for projects in new locations, beyond where Icelandic companies and individuals have worked in recent years.

“This also opens the opportunity to utilize our knowledge of district heating and the possibility of using geothermal energy as a source of heat, not only for power generation. This is becoming a major revival in Europe of the use of renewable energy, which has not been so far despite intense moment, “he says.

When asked who could take advantage of this fund, he says it may be experts in energy that might be on various projects, regardless of what they are denominated. “Those who can definitely come in here are independent experts and consultants, engineering firms, energy companies and this can certainly be an opportunity for the row of projects,” he says.

Behind projects like this lies the policy of European countries to substantially increase the share of renewable energy both for the public and for use in industry. Today, geothermal energy is used as an energy source only in a few industries and a few designated areas. At the same time it is estimated that about a quarter of European countries can take advantage of geothermal energy. The European Union wants to fuel 80% of all heating from renewable energy by 2050, including from geothermal energy which is still much undeveloped in most parts of the world. The participants in the research project therefore believe that the opportunities of further utilisation of geothermal energy is essentially limitless.

Asked if this project connects to the ongoing debate on climate change, he says that the project confirms the EU’s interest in geothermal energy is directly and indirectly connected to the debate. The interest in renewable energy is therefore incredibly important.

Source: visir.is

Landsvirkjun sees potentials in Windmill Park in Iceland

Iceland wind

On Landsvirkjun’s (The National Power Company of Iceland) promotional meeting they announced their will to develop further ideas about founding windmill parks in Iceland. Althingi (The National Parliament) has one area for those parks on a waiting list within a Master Plan for Nature Protection and Energy Utilization which was accepted 14th of January 2013. Another area, Blönd­u­lund­ur is again on a utilization list within the Master Plan mentioned above.

Hörður Arnarson the CEO of Landsvirkjun is of the opinion that electricity from wind could easily become the third electricity source that adds to hydro and geothermal heat. He claims that on Iceland the conditions for utilizing wind is in highest category worldwide when it comes to utilizing each windmill. Today the utilizing rate is 50% in Iceland as for only 28% globally.

Furthermore Hörður states production price is decreasing and costs parallel to geothermal heat.

As mentioned above there are certain hindrance when it comes to places. Blöndulundur for example has negative aspects as the transport route of power therefrom is quite limited and adding the third power plant there would call for further reinforcement of the transport route.

Great contribution to the climate issues

Hörður would be interested in installing 50 windmill park in Iceland with the power of 10-20 Megawatt each. The big issue today is the visual part according to Hörður. Both windmills and power lines are more visual than for example Hydro Power plants which are more adapted to nature.

Finally, Hörður talks about the future in solar and wind power. Both of these sources of power is well applicable today as the technique has gone through huge development as can be seen in many places globally, where these power sources are the most inexpensive ones.

Derived from mbl.is 7th march 2017

http://www.mbl.is/vidskipti/frettir/2017/03/01/landsvirkjun_horfir_enn_til_vindorku/

Carbfix project – from gas to rock

About Carbfix project – from gas to rock

CarbFix is a collaborative research project between Reykjavik Energy, the University of Iceland, Columbia University and CNRS that aims at developing safe, simple and economical methods and technology for permanent CO2 mineral storage in basalts. The CarbFix team had demonstrated that over 95% of CO2 captured and injected at Hellisheidi geothermal Power Plant in Iceland was mineralized within two years. This contrasts the previous common view that mineralization in CCS projects takes hundreds to thousands of years. Industrial scale capture and injection have been ongoing at the power plant since 2012. This project has evoked reactions worldwide as global warming is dangerously approaching 2°C which is seen as having catastrophically consequences.

Why Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)?

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global warming of more than 2°C would have serious consequences, such as an increase in the number of extreme climate events. The Paris agreement from the Paris climate conference (COP21) in December 2015 sets out a global action plan to limit global warming to bell below 2°C. The agreement is the first ever universal, legally binding global climate deal.

To reach this target, climate experts estimate that global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions need to be reduced by 40-70% by 2050 and that carbon neutrality (zero emissions) needs to be reached by the end of the century at the latest. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has furthermore estimated that carbon capture and storage is vital if the world is to limit global temperature increase to 2°C.

CarbFix for future reduction of greenhouse gases

Reducing industrial CO2 emissions is considered one of the main challenges of this century. By capturing CO2 from variable sources and injecting it into suitable deep rock formations, the carbon released is returned back where it was extracted instead of freeing it to the atmosphere.  This technology might help to mitigate climate change as injecting CO2 at carefully selected geological sites with large potential storage capacity can be a long lasting and environmentally benign storage solution.

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Picture of Hellisheiði Power Plant. Photo: Arni Saeberg.

To address this challenge, the CarbFix project is designed to optimize industrial methods for storing CO2 in basaltic rocks through a combined program consisting of, field scale injection of CO2 charged waters into basaltic rocks, laboratory based experiments, study of natural analogues and state of the art geochemical modeling. A second and equally important goal of this research project is to generate the human capital and expertise to apply the advances made in this project in the future.

Details and results of this research program, including regular updates, can be found on this website https://www.or.is/english/carbfix-project/about-carbfix

The objectives and procedure behind Carbfix project

The main objective is to develop new method and technology for capturing CO2 and H2S emission and turn into rock, carbon and Sulfur fixation so to speak. Basalt plays key role in the mineralization process as it contains high amount of calcium, magnesium and iron and these chemicals interact with CO2 and H2S to form minerals. They form Calcite from CO2 and fools gold from H2S.

Picture of ‘fools gold’                                                          Picture of Calcite

The procedure is described as injecting the captured gas into the earth again, where they were originated. It involves separating CO2 and H2S from other gases in the scrubbing system. During scrubbing the gases CO2 and H2S are dissolved in water resulting in a type of mineral water. This water is then injected into basaltic host formation and the outcome is fools gold from CO2 and Calcite from H2S. The mineralization takes about 2 years and is stable for centuries or even millions of years.

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Picture of Core from injection site showing CO2 bearing carbonate minerals within basaltic host rock. Photo: Sandra O Snaebjornsdottir

The method developed can be utilized wherever carbon dioxide is emitted in the vicinity of basaltic rock and water and sea. These conditions are widely found on the planet.

What are the goals of CarbFix?

CarbFix is aimed at developing new methods and technology for permanent CO2 mineral storage in basalts. This is done through a combined program consisting of:

  • field scale injection of CO2 charged waters into basaltic rocks
  • laboratory based experiments
  • study of natural analogues
  • geochemical modeling

A second and equally important goal of this research project is to generate the human capital and expertise to apply the advances made in this project in the future as mentioned above.

The worlds hottest borehole is nearly complete

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Icelands Deep Drilling Project (IDDP), was founded in 2000 by a consortium of three Icelandic energy companies, who are now drilling deep into the heart of a volcano in the south-west of Iceland. Iceland, sitting on the boundary between two major tectonic plates, is one of the most volcanically active places in the world. The project is located on the Reykjanes peninsula, where a volcano last erupted 700 years ago.

In a discussion with the BBC on 14th of December 2016, researchers reported that in the next couple of weeks they should reach a depth of 5km, where temperatures are expected to exceed 500C (932F). That is the deepest level of drilling so far in the world.

Asgeir Margeirsson, CEO of the Iceland Deep Drilling Project (IDDP) in his interview with the BBC hopes that this will open new doors for the geothermal industry globally to step into an era of more production.

“That’s the aim – that’s the hope. We have never been this deep before, we have never been into rock this hot before, but we are optimistic.” Said Asgeir Margeirsson.

Harnessing this energy through geothermal technology is already well established in Iceland. In this area at Reykjanes, they typically drill to 2km or 3km depth to harness the steam, to run power plants and produce clean, renewable electricity as explained by Asgeir Margeirsson. They want to see if the resources go deeper than that.

The drilling has now reached nearly 4,500m, and the team expected it to hit its target depth of 5km by the end of the year 2016.

When the drill gets to 5km, the team expects to find molten rock mixed with water. But with the extreme heat and immense pressure found at this depth, the water becomes what is known as “supercritical steam”.

It is neither a liquid nor a gas, but it holds far more energy than either. It is this “supercritical” steam that the team wants to bring back up to the surface to convert into electricity.They believe its special properties mean it could produce up to 10 times as much energy as the steam from conventional geothermal wells. They don’t expect to drill into magma, but are drilling into hot rock which is around 400 to 500C.”

 

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Black basalt rock that has been collected from deep beneath the ground

Mr Margeirsson said that if this works, in the future they would need to drill fewer wells to produce the same amount of energy, meaning they would touch less surface, which means less environmental impact and hopefully lower costs.

“But that is if this works. This is full-scale research and development – we don’t know what the outcome will be.”  And there is a good reason to be cautious. With volcanoes, expect the unexpected.

Prof Freysteinn Sigmundsson, a volcanologist at the University of Iceland, reports that even though Iceland has more than 300 volcanoes, there is still much to learn about them. At the same time he states that this drilling project, however, would give geologists a unique vantage point to see the interior of a volcano.  He emphazises the importance of this project and the possible fundamental discoveries about how volcanoes work, learn about their properties and conditions.

The IDDP team says it is currently “drilling blind”, which means no rocky debris is coming back up to the surface. Instead, it is somehow being absorbed into the surrounding rocks.  Without being able to examine the rock, it means the geologists really are heading into the unknown.  However, with only a few hundred metres to go, they are optimistic that the world’s hottest borehole is now within their sights.

The IDDP project is funded by energy companies (HS Orka, Statoil, Landsvirkjun and Orkuveita Reykjavíkur), Orkustofnun (the National Energy Authority of Iceland), the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP), the National Science Foundation in the US and EU Horizon 2020.

Innovation Center Iceland holds its Industry Advisory Group meeting

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First regional IAG (Industry Advisory group) meeting was held in Iceland last week in Reykjavík. The formation of the group is to provide input and advice on the implementation of the GREBE project in Iceland.  The Group shall meet once a year in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and ICI in in charge of organizing the meetings.

On the meeting GREBE project was introduced and members circulated about the project relevance in Iceland and how it could affect their business. Members discussed opportunities in renewable energy and technology, and knowledge transfer between GREBE partners.  Next meeting will be held in 2017.

Iceland Regional industry advisory group.

Kristján Leósson from Innovation Center Iceland (www.nmi.is)

Sigurður Friðleifsson from Iceland Energy agency (www.orkusetur.is)

Viðar Helgason frá Iceland Geothermal (www.icelandgeothermal.is)

Salóme Guðmunsdóttir Start up energy Reykjavík   (www.startupenergyreykjavik.com)

Valur Rafn Halldórsson from the associations of municipalities on cold areas.  (skss.is)

Harpa Pétursdóttir chairman of The Association of Women in Energy (https://www.facebook.com/konuriorkumalum/?fref=ts)

Skírnir Sigurbjörnsson from Arctic Hydro (www.arctichydro.is)

Sæþór Ásgeirsson from Icewind (www.icewind.is)

GREBE Report on the Influence of Environmental Conditions in NPA & Arctic Regions

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Global climate change impacts Europe in many ways, including: changes in average and extreme temperature and precipitation, warmer oceans, rising sea level and shrinking snow and ice cover on land and at sea. These weather phenomenons have led to a range of impacts on ecosystems, socio-economic sectors and human health and safety. There is no doubt that the changes in climate will have a strong impact in our daily life, whether we accept extreme weather conditions as a new phenomenon or not. Adaptation to the past history data, present observed and future predicted impacts will in the coming decades be needed, as well as be complementary to global climate mitigation actions. Narvik Science Park has made a report on this in the GREBE-Project.

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Background

The harsh climatic conditions experienced in many NPA regions, particularly high north and arctic regions, present significant challenges to SMEs and start-ups that can seriously impact on the viability of their businesses. Winter storms regularly occurring in the high north, known as polar lows or arctic weather fronts, can bring about sudden and extreme drops in temperatures, with debilitating ice and snow conditions developing quickly. Also, in the North West Europe the influence from the North Atlantic Oscillation give rise to storms, resulting in high winds and precipitations. These conditions frequently give rise to unsafe working conditions and suspension of business operations, particular in the case of technology installations. Operational environments in these areas are often vulnerable irrespective of climatic conditions, given their isolated, remote locations, far away from technical maintenance staff, and which are often difficult to access by road, air or sea. Businesses located in these areas must compensate for fragile and less robust parameters, in order to cope with unforeseen sudden disturbances (for instance, climate change effects).

There are significant climate challenges in the partner regions with different types of harsh weather. Low temperature, hard winds, and rain/ snow conditions can be extreme in the NPA regions. The question is – how to find the best process conditions for business in remote NPA communities, where knowledge transfer is an important aspect. A harsh local/regional climate, sparsely populated areas together with rural geographic related issues and poor infrastructure have a tendency to bias the company’s business models.

Effects on GREBE regions in Northern Europe

Findings from the work of NSP – In the northeastern part of Europe there is a high societal disturbance caused by wind, rain and in some sense also freezing rain. Since the occurrence of harsh weather conditions are not frequent, the effect will be more palpable. In comparison the norther part of Europe, i.e. Iceland has a frequent presence of high wind conditions that in this case will be more of a “normal” continuous state in daily weather.  In the northeast coastal regions of Europe, the weather is more unpredictable with suddenly arising storms, i.e. polar lows, delivering both rain/snow and windy conditions. In the mainland northeast regions there are precipitation and in conjunction with this often cold climate.

“Local extreme weather” – The weather impact on societal infrastructure in the different NPA regions is considered to be affecting the business activities. The phenomenon of “local extreme weather” is serious for the single business when affects and may have serious consequences to compete in an open market. The trends in towards more local extreme weather is indicating the following spread in northern Europe:

  • Ireland/Northern-Ireland – Wind & Storms
  • Scotland – Rain & Wind
  • Iceland – Wind & Cold
  • Norway – Snow & Cold
  • Finland – Ice & Snow

The economic outcome is then a vulnerable factor in these NPA regions that gives a negative bias for local business and a non-favorable competitive disadvantage compared to similar businesses in other EU regions.

The Regional readiness

The readiness from the society to handle harsh weather and local “extreme” conditions varies from country to country in northern Europe. The regional readiness in local “extreme weather conditions” should be an important measure when establishing new enterprises and a serious risk analysis should be made before each activity starts, by taken in account the possibility for weather disturbance. Based upon the description below from each GREBE partner region, an indicative regional or even local perception has to be defined. The overall measure that indicates some connection between local “extreme weather frequency” and a corresponding indication of society readiness can be of great value. This opens for a discussion and action plans or even a business strategy plan, concerning suddenly weather extremes that are changing in a fast manner, like for example in frequency and behavior. This will also reflect the current climate change in coherence with business activities that we are experiencing and specifically when it is expected to make the biggest noticeable effect on the environment in the Arctic and sub-arctic regions. The regional readiness in society is of great importance when considering time loss of energy, restriction in transportations or not operational production.

However, the impact of “local extreme weather” is considered manageable and moderate in most of the northern EU regions. The frequency of these weather phenomenons can be severe when an indirect impact occurs, e.g. avalanches, coldness, strong winds and flooding will also in the future cause disturbances in the society. These occurrences mainly affect the accessibility to production plants and the mobility of staff. Nevertheless, there is always a high risk that the safety aspect will in each situation not be fully understood. The “local extreme weather” is always important to relate to for both personnel and business operations.

Conclusions –  climate effects on society business

  1. Regional cooperation – The widely spread geographical areas of northern Europe, is experiencing a number of joint challenges in relation to its location, but also possible opportunities that can be overcome and realized by regional cooperation. The experience from each region may be introduced to other Northern European areas and innovations from different parts in society can be used to create specific growth initiatives and common efficient business opportunities of the European Northern and Arctic regions in a climate efficient way. One major impact of challenges and initiatives in business operations is the influence of weather conditions on society and in the extension also SME business operations and productivity located in these areas.
  2. Strategic handling – Today, many operators in society refer to weather as a restriction in budget and argue that it is a phenomenon that has an actuable impact on business. However, the weather can be a strong benefit for the business when an updated insight into the specific local conditions is available and by using a strategic handling document based upon regional knowledge and experience from other businesses. Even national weather organizations are today providing companies this service.
  3. Variety of weather – The final implication is that a change in weather pattern will result in a variety of weather phenomenon that can affect the NPA regions in a different matter. There are different effects on the society, depending upon the specific region, i.e. flooding, wind, and disturbance on roads by fallen trees and avalanche.

You can download the report from the GREBE Project website:

http://grebeproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/GREBE-Report-on-the-Influence-of-Environmental-Conditions-in-NPA-Arctic-Regions.pdf