A Islândia quer aproveitar o magma da Terra para gerar eletricidade

Islândia pretende perfurar até o magma da terra na esperança de estabelecer uma nova fonte de energia sustentável. A perfuração será a mais quente do mundo atingindo temperaturas entre 400 e 1.000 graus Celsius. Isso é suficiente para gerar um vapor que geraria até 50 megawatts de eletricidade – 10 vezes mais eficiente do que poços geotérmicos tradicionais.

A energia geotérmica tem sido estudada há décadas. Ela envolve a perfuração e o uso do calor natural armazenado no interior da Terra para alimentar turbinas e gerar eletricidade.

Particularmente na Islândia, que é famosa por suas fontes termais geologicamente ativas, mais de um quarto do país é alimentado por poços de energia geotérmica. Porém, esse fenômeno apresenta limitações. Como alternativa, o Iceland Deep Drilling Project (IDDP) está tentando contornar as rochas e furar a fonte de calor da Terra.

A ideia para o novo projeto, na verdade, veio de um erro em 2009, quando o IDDP acidentalmente perfurou um reservatório de magma com cerca de 2 km abaixo da superfície, durante a tentativa de construir uma geotérmica tradicional.

A experiência derramou água no buraco para ver o quanto de energia era possível gerar e criou uma geotérmica poderosa, capaz de produzir cerca de 30 megawatts de energia. O projeto foi de curta duração, mas a equipe está esperando que esta nova tentativa seja mais sustentável.

A perfuração do novo buraco começou em 12 de agosto na região Reykjanes, na Islândia. Os investigadores estão esperando alcançar o Mid-Atlantic Ridge – uma importante fronteira entre as placas tectônicas da Terra – onde o magma aquece a água do mar a temperaturas de até 1.000 graus Celsius.

“As pessoas têm perfurado as rochas a essa profundidade, mas nunca foi realizado um sistema de fluido como este“, disse Albert Albertsson, um membro da equipe e diretor-assistente da empresa de energia geotérmica, HS Orka.

A água lá embaixo é quente e possui muita pressão – 200 vezes os níveis atmosféricos. Por esse motivo, a equipe espera gerar vapor supercrítico – um estado da matéria que não é nem líquido nem gás, e detém mais energia térmica do que qualquer um. Esse tipo de vapor pode ter uma capacidade de energia de até 50 megawatts.

“Obter vapor supercrítico em poços profundos provocará uma diferença na magnitude em relação a quantidade de energia geotérmica“, explicou o especialista Arnar Guðmundsson, da Invest.

Mas esse estudo é puramente teórico. O buraco deve ser perfurado até o final do ano, e nos meses que se seguem será possível ter uma ideia de quanta eletricidade se pode gerar.

Se funcionar, será uma grande perspectiva para regiões que têm vulcões, como o Japão e Califórnia. Indo mais longe: como a Terra está ficando cada vez mais quente, é preciso criar alternativas mais poderosas que os combustíveis fósseis.

190 Replies to “A Islândia quer aproveitar o magma da Terra para gerar eletricidade

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