EFLA participates in the global district energy conference that is held in Iceland this week. Two of our specialists will speak at the conference and we will showcase our expertise at the exhibition booth.
The Sustainable District Energy Conference, SDEC, is organized by Samorka and Icelandic Geothermal and its agenda is to discuss latest knowledge in the district energy sector. Special focus will be on the topic how district heating can help fighting the climate change and lowering carbon emissions.
EFLA's expertise in the energy sector covers four-decades, working in some of the world's most ecologically sensitive and physically challenging settings, focusing on power distribution systems and utilizing renewable energy resources.
Low temperature geothermal water utilization
Egill Maron Þorbergsson, Energy engineer Ph.D., at EFLA Consulting Engineers will speak at the conference and discuss the potential to utilize low and medium temperature geothermal resources in Iceland to generate electricity. The utilization of low and medium temperature has been nearly all direct use, such as space heating, industrial processing or swimming pools, in Iceland. Utilization of low temperature geothermal water for electricity production has not been a commercial success in Iceland. Sveinbjörnsson (2016) did a detailed research and mapped out the feasibility of producing electricity with medium enthalpy at several locations in Iceland. The largest obstacles in utilizing the low temperature geothermal water is the low price of electricity, and the high capital cost. At Kópsvatn near Flúðir is a geothermal well that has a temperature of 115°C. There are plans to connect the well to the district heating system in Flúðir. However, the temperature is too high for the district heating system, and the geothermal water needs to be cooled before it is used in the district heatings system. Therefore, there is a possibility to harness the heat of the fluid from 115°C to e.g. 80°Cto produce electricity.. In the spring of 2018, Flúðaorka started construction of a power plant that will utilize the low temperature geothermal water and have been now generating electricity for approximately one year.
Carbon footprint calculations
Alexandra Kjeld, Environmental Engineer, M.Sc. at EFLA Consulting Engineers will also present at the conference discussing carbon footprint calculations. Due to the use of low carbon renewable energy sources in Iceland, carbon footprint calculations for Icelandic buildings have highlighted the role of embodied carbon. Impacts of electricity use and heating throughout a building's operational life are nevertheless a significant part of the net carbon footprint, particularly in the case of energy-intensive service buildings, as the exploitation of different geothermal fields can release large quantities of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. While methods such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) can have an important mitigating impact when utilising high temperature geothermal fields, more research is needed to identify key emission sources and mitigating potential in the utilisation of low temperature geothermal areas.