We started day two in Iceland with a simple breakfast at our hostel. Then we walked to the University of Iceland geology building where we listened to two different lectures. The first lecture was an introduction to the geology of Iceland. We learned that Iceland is on the Mid Atlantic ridge where two divergent plates are moving apart approximately one centimeter per year. This is what causes Iceland to be an area of volcanic and earthquake activity. We also learned about how geologists monitor this activity. The second lecture was about geothermal energy in Iceland. To extract geothermal energy, three things are needed, a heat source, a reservoir, and a fluid to carry heat to a sink. We learned that 45% of the geothermal energy produced in Iceland is used for space heating, 39% is used for generating electricity, and the other energy is used for things like heating swimming pools and melting snow.
Most of us went to lunch either at Subway or at a place similar to Chipotle for lunch since it was close to the university. After lunch we toured the Hitaveita Suournesja geothermal power plant which co-generates heat and electricity. This plant uses the steam from hot brine 2000 meters into the ground and then runs it through a heat exchanger. This heat is utilized to heat fresh water which is then run through a turbine to produce electricity. Initially, when the plant was built in 1974, brine was run through the turbines, however this caused corrosion in the pipes, so this process was discontinued. We had a great day learning about geothermal energy in Iceland!
Tonight, we had a buffet dinner at a restaurant called Pot and Pan. The whole top floor was reserved for our group, which was wonderful! We had whale meat, caviar, salmon, puffin, and other delicious food.