A Wall Street Journal Energy Blog writes that Alcoa is testing a new geothermal energy powered aluminum smelter. They claim that the geothermal system will provide “almost limitless, clean, natural energy.”
â€œThe technology we hope to develop in Iceland should be applicable wherever there is high temperature geothermal potential,â€ said Alcoa Executive Vice President Bernt Reitan.
Supported by Alcoa, the Iceland Deep Drilling Project consortium will collaborate on a deep drilling pilot project, which will investigate the economic feasibility of producing energy and useful chemicals from geothermal systems at what are known as â€œsupercritical conditions.â€
Essentially, these are natural systems where underground water becomes super-heated by close proximity to almost molten rocks deep beneath the earthâ€™s surface. Pilot plant testing will be completed by 2015.
It takes an enormous amount of energy to make aluminum. A recent NY Times article about China wrote, “Chinaâ€™s aluminum industry alone consumes as much energy as the countryâ€™s commercial sector â€” all the hotels, restaurants, banks and shopping malls combined, Mr. Rosen and Mr. Houser reported.”
So let’s hope that it really works!