Iceland and geothermal energy
There are pros and cons to living in a geothermally active zone. The people in Indonesia live in constant fear of the next great and devastating volcanic eruption that can be not only locally disastrous but have global effects.
For the folks in Iceland, an island sitting atop the longest mountain chain in the world, the mid-oceanic rift, which is parting the Atlantic Ocean, sending North America and Africa apart at five centimetres a year. It is what powers their island. They have turned the heat of plate tectonics to their advantage. The virtually limitless heat from the churning mantle of the Earth provides them with electricity, heat and no pollution. They don’t need wind farms, tidal dams, nuclear power plants or hydroelectric generators. The heat from the Earth powers just about everything on Iceland, which the exception of the automobiles, trucks and ships, which are still fossil fueled.
This state of affairs had me wondering a bit as the temperature of the past few days experienced its inevitable seasonal downturn. What about using the Icelandic geothermal energy, which is just about limitless, easy to tap and simple technologically to be the first step in a closed hydrogen power loop. Sea water surrounds the island and water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen. Use the geothermal energy to create electricity, which in turn fractionates the water into oxygen and hydrogen. Let the oxygen spin off into the atmosphere, store, liquify and transport the hydrogen to where it is needed. When it is burned, and make no mistake, hydrogen is a wonderful, powerful and light fuel. It powers and heats whatever you want it to. And when it does, all it creates is water. And if in the process of transmitting the hydrogen escapes, the transport ship flounders and runs around — the awful destruction that we have seen this past week in the Black Sea with the Russian tanker running aground – killing and fouling and maiming any lives it touches is completely mitigated. The hydrogen combines with the oxygen and again creates water.
No pollution in the mining, pumping, shipping, using…nothing, nada. It’s clean, the technology exists and is safe. Imagine Iceland and other geothermally active hotspots as being the hydrogen-producing locations. They could become the Saudi Arabias, Iraqs, Irans and Albertas. We already collect energy from one part of the world and ship it to another. Only hydrogen is so much easier to deal with. It doesn’t need to be refined or reprocessed. Once the hydrogen is produced, all you need to do is look at the infrastructure. We already have a huge oil shipping infrastructure. That could easily be modified to hold hydrogen. And once it is where you want it to be, the hydrogen could be piped in the natural gas pipelines that already exist all around the world and connect virtually every city to fossil gas. Just replace that with hydrogen.
The more I think about it, the more and more I wonder. Cars can be cheaply and safely modified to run on hydrogen. The engines would be virtually identical. What is holding us back? Could it be that we have been sold a bill of goods? Drilling, pollution and a legion of other dangerous and planetary damaging practices could be averted in one swell foop!
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