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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - July 10, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta IIJ Fuel consumption reduced Iceland turns on with geothermal heat Hospitalized Gen. Francisco Spains 81-year-old chief of was hospitalized Tuesday suffering from phlebitis in his right his household statt reported in Madrid. Officials would not say if the general's condition was serious. By WALTER SULLIVAN New York Times Service Iceland This city has become the first in the world to be heated almost entirely by geothermal energy in view of soaring fuel other Icelandic communities are rapidly following suit. The changeover to geother- mal heating here has been ex- pedited by the discovery that the city stands directly over deep reservoirs of some of which is as hot as 275 degrees Fahrenheit. To tap this 32 bore holes have been drilled thousands of feet into the lava Each successful penetration in some cases to a depth of a mile or more is announc- ed to occupants of the sur- rounding apartment houses and department stores by a window-rattling roar. The fire department is summoned with a deluge of cold quenches the eruption long enough for pumping fixtures to be installed at the wellhead. Over the last the production of hot water has almost 99 per cent of the city's residents now live in homes heated by hot water. While Iceland leads the world in per capita use of geothermal she has not pressed the development of geothermal power partly because she has a plen- tiful supply of hydroelectric energy. in the United States and some other there is a growing effort to extract extra electric generating power from deposits of hot water or hot rock as a result of energy problems. Parallel with the conversion to geothermal heating has been the development of a new technology to exploit it. For when the water comes out of the i't is so hot that it would boil in the pipes unless kept under high pressure. This is done by pumps inserted into the wells. there is enough dissolved nitrogen in the water to give a home plumbing system a problem similar to The latter is the sometimes fatal condition that occurs when deep sea divers surface so rapidly that the nitrogen in their blood forms blocking blood vessels. In this the nitrogen would ac- cumulate at high points in the plumbing. The solution has been to purge the water of nitrogen by briefly allowing it to decompress and boil. Because the water is free of gaseous its dissolved minerals do not form oxide deposits in the but special measures are necessary to keep oxygen from entering the system. The fluoride content of the water is reportedly ideal for dental health the sulphur compounds turn silver black and corrode copper utensils. In parts of the after the heating water has been used it is dumped into local swimm- ing pools a magnifi- cent municipal pool that is the city's or is mix- ed with water coming from wells that are particularly hot. This brings the water temperature down to manageable levels. The residual water is also used to heat greenhouses that despite Iceland's cold produce and even bananas. As recently as the this city was often blaketed with black particular- ly in winter. Today it is large- ly smoke-free and the fire department is less now that home furnaces and combustion-type space heaters have been eliminated. It is estimated that Icelan- dic imports of fuel oil have been reduced by metric tons a year through the development of geothermal heating. 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