Can Volcanoes Power the World?
- Publication Date |
- Jan 11, 2019
- Episode Duration |
Magma is the hot, molten rock found beneath the Earth’s crust. It’s so plentiful that it got Greek listener Dimitrios wondering whether we could harness this heat. Could we drill directly into the magma and use it to power our homes, he asks presenter Marnie Chesterton? And from Ghana, Madock also got in touch with CrowdScience to ask why there are lots of volcanoes in some areas of the world, but then none in others?
Marnie dispatches Anand Jagatia to Kenya, a country that is one of the biggest providers of geothermal energy in the world and home to the East African Rift system. At 4,000 miles long, a string of volcanoes sits along this fault line. Anand hikes up one of these to find out why volcanism is so active here. Anand then travels to a geothermal power plant to get to grips with how conventional geothermal energy works, before turning to Iceland, where they’ve drilled directly into magma - albeit by accident. What they discovered was supercritical steam. It’s neither a liquid nor a gas but holds up to 10 times more energy than both. And to find it naturally occurring is the ‘holy grail’ of geothermal power. But can our equipment stand such temperatures?
Presenter: Anand Jagatia and Marnie Chesterton
Producer: Graihagh Jackson
(Image: A volcano erupts. Credit Getty Images)