In its territorial waters off the coast of Sicily and Calabria Italy has the largest volcano in the world. Called Marsili, this behemoth measures over 3000 meters high, but its peak is 800 meters below the sea surface, 80 km north of the Aeolian Islands. If this volcano 50 km in diameter is not active right now, it is not completely extinguished and could restart its business.

Prof. Patrizio Signanini, University of Chieti, had the idea to use this huge boiler to produce geothermal energy. Water that is close to overheating of the magma over 300 ° C and Professor Signanini imagined that if we could dig a tube capture to go to fetch her ​​for operating steam turbines and therefore electricity generators of 200 megawatts of power. Cold water would be reinserted in the oceanic crust using a borehole.

Prof. Patrizio Signanini found a partner in industry: The firm Eurobuilding, an SME markets that already have knowledge in the mining and drilling in the marine environment has been since 2005 a research group including researchers from the Institute for Marine Geology IGM-CNR, the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology INGV and University of Chieti and Bari, and they have published work demonstrating the presence of hundreds of millions of cubic meters geothermal fluids underground. They managed to locate these “reservoirs” and draw a “ray” of Mount Marsili.

The firm Eurobuilding obtained the exclusive concession in 2009 on this sector from the Italian Ministry of Economic Development. It gives until 2013 to dig the well pilot 800 meters deep. The technology of oils are used and adapted to geothermal, but with the added security in case of leakage, damage to the ecosystem would be less because it is only seawater

The advantage is that this technique, in addition to producing clean, renewable energy, operates continuously (unlike wind and solar). If governments allow the development of this technology, geothermal energy could account for 5 to 7% of national energy mix and become the second largest source of renewable energy after hydro-electric power. And if the cost of the facilities is more than 2 billion euros, the estimated cost per kilowatt hour is reasonable enough, two times cheaper than PV.

At the same time, it should be noted that Lardarello, one of the two Italian sites (with the Mont Amiata) already producing geothermal energy, will be inaugurated in the coming weeks Geothermal Museum, a center dedicated to technology and exploitation of geothermal centenary of Tuscany. A series of photographs, images and reconstructions will be exhibited on this site as the Etruscans called “Valley of the devil” until the French merchant Francesco de Larderel there launches an extraction of Boron salt.

Leave a Reply