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Preston firm to import red hot lava from Iceland to power local homes

Remsol, the well-known environmental and energy business from Preston, has today announced plans to construct a pipeline to Iceland in order to import lava from the volcanic island for use in a district heating and power scheme.

Lee Petts, managing director at Remsol, says it’s a world first for renewable energy: “Iceland is a global leader in clean energy, generating 99.96% of its power from renewables. Being a volcanic island, it is able to generate over 5,000 GWh of electricity a year from its extensive geothermal resources.

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“The proposed pipeline will enable us to replicate Iceland’s success. By importing molten lava at temperatures in excess of 700 degrees Celsius, we will be able to power the equivalent of 1.1 million local homes.”

Iceland has a high concentration of active volcanoes due to its location on the mid-Atlantic Ridge. The island has 30 active volcanic systems, of which 13 have erupted since the settlement of Iceland in AD 874, the most recent under Eyjafjallajökull (“glacier of Eyjafjöll”) in 2010 that sent an ash plume into the sky and caused hundreds of flights across Europe to be cancelled.

On arrival in Salmesbury, the red hot lava will be used to heat water into steam, which will then drive a series of turbines and generate clean, dependable electricity.

Remsol says that it is about to embark on obtaining access rights for directional drilling and pipe laying across the Lancashire countryside, via Cumbria to Scotland and then under the North Sea to Iceland, and expects to submit planning applications for the works later in 2017.

“This is a really exciting development. Unlike wind and solar power, our project will produce carbon free power 24/7, every day of the year, with no requirement for expensive battery storage. We expect it to create tens of thousands of jobs and investment of over £1 billion. Not only that, the pipeline will have a warming effect at the surface of the land it passes under, providing grazing sheep and cattle with a more comfortable resting environment during wet weather,” concludes Petts.

A spokesperson from the Icelandic Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism, says it’s a win-win, allowing Iceland to export excess lava and prevent further volcanic eruptions whilst helping the UK meet its climate change goals.

Known by its acronym formed from the various place names of the UK and Iceland towns through which it is intended to pass, the pipeline will connect:

Salmesbury (England)
Piling (England)
Oban (Scotland)
Ólafsvík (Iceland)
Fáskrúðsfjörður (Iceland)

Project S.P.O.O.F. is expected to be completed by 2025.

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