The Blue Lagoon

Due to Iceland’s unique location above the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the country is blessed with a vast supply of geothermal resources. Iceland has a long history of utilizing these resources for heating purposes and electrical production.

The first district heating utility was established in Reykjavík in 1930 and since then it has grown to become the largest district heating system in the world, providing hot water (for space heating and domestic use) to over 67% of the Icelandic population. Roughly 90% of all households in Iceland acquire hot water from a district heating system.

Geothermal energy plays a large role in the energy economy of Iceland, constituting approximately 30% of Iceland’s total electrical production.

NesjavellirThere are two general classifications of geothermal reservoirs, low-temperature and high-temperature. Low-temperature reservoirs are generally found on the edges of active volcanic zones and contain water below 150°C. The water from these reservoirs is used by thermal power plants to produce hot water for space heating and domestic use, and electrical production through the use of i.e. Kalina technology where typical size of powerplants is 2 - 6 MW.  High-temperature reservoirs lie within active volcanic zones and contain water above 200°C. The relatively high temperature water can be used both by electric power plants to produce electricity and by thermal power plants to produce hot water.

Icelandic scientists have accumulated a wealth of knowledge regarding the exploitation and maintenance of geothermal resources, and have in recent years become active in exporting geothermal expertise to the rest of the world. Since its inception in 1982, Vatnaskil has been a leader in the field of both low- and high-temperature geothermal reservoir engineering. Our emphasis has been on the use of a numerical flow models to predict future behaviour of geothermal reservoirs. Model simulations have become an important tool in the planning and management of geothermal reservoirs, and are essential in ensuring the sustainability of the resources. Vatnaskil has provided decades of consulting services to three major energy utilities in Iceland, Hitaveita Sudurnesja, Landsvirkjun Power and Reykjavik Energy. We have also consulted on projects in Europe and Asia. 

Example projects:

  • Geothermal reservoir modelling for Olkaria, Kenya – reservoir management and sustainability forcasting, supervision of training program in geothermal reservoir engineering/modelling - KenGen
  • Geothermal reservoir modelling for Miskolc, Hungary - well test analysis, sustainability forcasting, environmental impact assessment - PannErgy Plc.
  • Three-dimensional reservoir model of Reykjavik low-temperature fields - Reykjavik Energy
  • Reservoir model of Svartsengi and Reykjanes high-temperature fields - Hitaveita Sudurnesja energy utility
  • Conceptual model of the high-temperature geothermal fields at Theistareykir, Northeast Iceland - Landsvirkjun Power