Orkuveita Reykjavíkur/Reykjavik Energy (OR) is a public utility company providing electricity, geothermal water for heating, and cold water for consumption and firefighting. The service area extends to 20 municipalities, covering 67% of the Icelandic population. OR‘s principal owner is the City of Reykjavík, and it provides its services through three subsidiaries; Veitur Utilities, ON Power and Reykjavík Fibre Network. The group harnesses hot water for direct use from geothermal fields in an area covering about a quarter of Iceland and operates two co-generation high temperature geothermal plants at Hellisheidi and Nesjavellir where electricity and hot water is generated. Potable water is distributed from groundwater reservoirs and the group´s waste-water services meet wide environmental requirements.
OR and its subsidiaries have over a century’s long experience with operating natural reservoirs for water and energy production and distribution. Overall production in 2016 corresponded to: Ca. 3.5 Terawatt hours in electricity and 70 Million cubic meters of hot water for direct use. OR has extensive experience in successful cooperation with the research community at large in innovation and R&D projects. OR has been the leading partner in the CarbFix project, a joint innovation and R&D project between European and North American partnership that was founded in 2007. Through CarbFix, OR has demonstrated its capacity of bringing an original idea into full scale industrial operations in a short period of time while maintaining social acceptance and a good working relationship with authorities, licencing bodies and nearby communities. The CarbFix project has gained extensive, worldwide media attention and OR has been in the forefront in that respect.
OR is the co-ordinator of the H2020 project GECO (Geothermal Emission Control) where the primary goal is lower emissions from geothermal power generation by capturing them for either reuse or storage. This will be done by
- Further optimizing gas capture and injection infrastructure at Hellisheidi and thereby further lowering emissions
- Implementing lessons learned at Hellisheidi at 3 other field site demonstrations across Europe, Kizildere, Castelnuovo and Bochum
- Combining the success of the CarbFix approach with corresponding gas re-use approaches.
OR is also a founding partner in the Iceland Deep Drilling Project (IDDP) with the objective to find out if it is economically feasible to extract energy and chemicals out of hydrothermal systems at supercritical conditions.
Dr Bergur Sigfússon
Dr Sigfússon has many years' experience in overseeing the field scale commissioning of new methods and technologies related to operations and monitoring of geothermal power plants, including risk assessment and risk mitigation. Dr. Sigfússon oversaw the field scale commissioning of the Carbfix project, including the development of the CO2 capture process and installation and testing of the re-injection apparatus and monitoring system. Furthermore, Dr. Sigfússon took large role in disseminating the results, both in terms of deliverables of the FP7 project no. 283148, and in terms of peer reviewed publications (see list). Dr. Sigfússon is responsible for ground water monitoring and monitoring power plant operations at the OR Group, including reporting of trace elemental concentration in the vicinity (air, surface and ground water) of OR’s power plants. Sigfússon recently analysed the overlapping of underground resources within the EU with the aim of placing a constraint of the geopotential assigned to each of these resources and furthermore investigating possible synergies between different usages (for example geothermal/CCS combinations). Currently Dr. Sigfússon is the Co-ordinator of the GECO H2020 project.
Dr Sandra Ó. Snæbjörnsdóttir
Dr Snæbjörnsdóttir is a geologist/geochemist specialised in water-rock interaction, in geothermal reservoirs and during carbon capture and storage. Dr. Snæbjörnsdóttir has been working on the CarbFix project since 2012 and did the geochemical monitoring of the injection site in 2012-2014, which included extensive sampling, analysis and interpretation of low temperature geothermal fluids, along with geochemical modelling of saturation states, and reaction path modelling of the water-rock-CO2 interaction during and after CO2 injections using the PHREEQC code. She has worked as on-site consultant during geothermal drilling, and done some extensive mapping of petrology, mineralogy, and aquifers in geothermal wells in Iceland, contributing to the conceptual model of e.g. the Hellisheidi and Nesjavellir fields, where OR is currently operating power plants. Dr. Snæbjörnsdóttir is a participant in the OR drilling team responsible for locating, drilling and completing production and re-injection wells. Dr. Snæbjörnsdóttir has been supervisor and guest lecturer at the UNU Geothermal Training Program, and been part time lecturer at the University of Iceland. She previously worked on the NORDICCS project, a virtual CCS networking platform aiming for increased CCS deployment in the five Nordic countries, where she also served as a vice member of the steering committee. She is currently participating in three EU funded projects, CarbFix2, and Science4CleanEnergy and GECO.
Nökkvi is a mechanical and energy engineer working on R&D at Reykjavík Energy. His main field of expertise is mechanical and process design. He was originally trained as Marine Engineer with experience from various sectors and has designed various machinery and equipment for power plants and other industries. He also has experience of process plant design and project management. He is responsible for installations of complex downhole well measurement apparatus for OR.
Dr Vala Hjörleifsdóttir
Dr Hjörleifsdóttir oversees seismology at OR, including monitoring and mitigating the induced seismicity caused by OR and subsidiaries, and participating in multiple EU funded projects that spotlight induced seismicity in geothermal fields; COSEISMIQ, Carbfix2, Science4CleanEnergy and DESTRESS. She is a seismologist with many years of experience working on the physics of earthquakes in settings spanning those of great earthquakes in subduction zones (such as Sumatra 2004 and Chiapas, Mexico 2017) to small intraplate earthquakes. Vala was a research professor at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México for 9 years, where she led multiple research projects with topics including geothermal energy, numerical modeling, earthquake detection, moment tensor analysis and physics of earthquakes, graduating PhD and MSc students, as well as supervising undergraduate thesis.