Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Rain, and plenty of it

Iceland. A country that sits on one of the thinnest areas of the earth's crust. Just below the surface the heat from the Mantle causes water that has fallen beneath the cracks of the earth to rise back up again as steam. This forms so many of natures phenomenon we see there. Geysers. Hot pools, to name but a few. 

This, you could argue is one of the defining features of Iceland. Apart from the wildlife and rugged landscape. However to the residents of Iceland it isn't just a novelty feature; Used to bring in the tourists. They use the geothermal energy every day in interesting, diverse and above all Innovative ways. The whole of the country is powered by geothermal power or Hydro power. 26.2% and 74.4% respectively. 89% of the homes in Iceland are heated at no cost at all, and almost indefinitely by the power of the earth. That means there are no gas bills for heating. Can you imagine how good that would be?

But it doesn't just extend to energy use. They have developed strange but beautiful ways of harnessing the warmth of the earth. By channelling it under the roads they remain ice free all year round. By channelling the heat into a contraption similar to a BBQ they have a steam cooker. 

This, I'm sure you'll agree is an astounding amount of imagination and innovation. Iceland truly is well on its way to becoming one of the first ever countries to become completely fossil fuel free. 

This lead me to start wondering. What do we have in the UK? We certainly don't have anything like the capacity Iceland has to produce energy from geothermal sources in such abundance. There is a small geothermal plant in Southampton  But this would cater for such a small percentage of the UK's overall energy consumption as to be almost negligible.

We do however have lots of rain. Lots of coast and lots and lots of flowing water. Rain is almost a stereotypical feature of the UK. The French always comment on how much we complain of it. So what can we do with that??

Back in the past mills where used to grind flour. However that is a practice that has stopped almost completely. (Save for the odd living museum here and there.)

So lets open this out. How could we use the abundance of water in and around and above England to 
1) Improve our lives?
2) To make us a more self sufficient country. 

If anyone has any ideas. Please leave a comment and I will post them up. 


  1. Interesting topics mate; it just so happens I have just watched a programme hosted by Richard Hammond who was talking about how Iceland is powered by the steam created from the heat below the thin layer of crust. That earth cooking restaurant was on there too. Incredible 170 degrees just from steam!

  2. Yea, I just watched the same programme. Was really interesting! I was blown away by how many ways Iceland use all that energy. Its quite cool. Hahaha and omg, I want one of those cookers. Maybe ill retire to Iceland one day xD