Orkuveita Reykjavíkur ‘s Hellisheidarvirkjun heat and power station (Hellisheidi Power Plant) in South Iceland is the second largest geothermal power plant in the world. The geothermal power plant was made to furnish power to the entire city of Reykjavik as there is an expanding request for greater consumption. It provides electricity, geothermal water for heating and cold water for consumption to 67 percent of the Icelandic population. It is located at Hengill volcano in the South of Iceland about 11 km away from Nesjavellir which also is a large geothermal power plant and aimed the second largest in Iceland.

How It Was Built.


The production of electricity started up back in 2006 with only two high pressure 45 Megawatts turbines of the power station. Since it was not enough to cover up the city’s demand, just a year later, a low pressure turbine of 33 Megawatts supplements the existing two high pressure turbines.

When the plant expanded in 2008, another two high power turbines of 45 Megawatts were added to the duly functional three power turbines. And at that point steam from Stora-Skardsmyrarfiall Mountain was linked with then producing 213 Megawatts turbines which allowed the production to increase at its capacity. Still not satisfied with the amount of electricity being produced, in 2010, three thermal power plants were added and started the hot water production reaching its production of electricity to 133 Megawatts prior to the 213 Megawatts production from the five turbines and steam.

The expansion was finished with additional two high pressured 45 Megawatts turbine back in 2011, this completed the final stage of the construction of the largest geothermal power plant in Iceland. As of this moment, the Hellisheidarvirkjun heat and power station can produce 303 Megawatts up to 400 Megawatts of electricity. Due to terms of installed capacity, Hellisheidarvirkjun geothermal plant was considered the largest power station not only in Iceland but in the whole world.

More Technical Information


To produce such great electrical production of 303 Megawatts up to 400 Megawatts, the geothermal power plant utilizes 500 kg/s of 180 degrees Celsius geothermal steam. 30 wells about of 2000-3000 meters deep is where the generated power is drawled out leading through the steam and mist separators before it reaches the turbines. The low pressure steam that has been extracted from the steam separators is generated at a pressure of 2 bars. The high pressure steam on the other hand, operates at 9 bar pressure. Each unit of the electrical system is consists of a 50 MVA generator, a 50 MVA step-up transformer to 220kV, a 11/11 kV transformer for association with the 11 kv station service system and 11/0.4 kV transformers.

The Location: Hengill Volcano Area


The summit of Hengill volcano goes as high as 800 meters above sea level. This volcano is made from palagonite tuff; palagonite Tuff holds extremely modest sections of basalt glass together with bigger pieces of broken basaltic rock in a matrix of yellow-tan palagonite. The different bedding (layering) of the deposit undoubtedly speaks to particular eruption cycles from the adjacent turf ring. Since the Hengill volcano is still active, several thousand of hot springs at the surface and a giant magma chamber lying underground, although it has been 2000 years ago since the last known eruption occurred. Hengill geothermal area is located right in the middle of the western volcanic zone, boundary between North America and the European plates. The area covers about 112km2.

Knowing How It Works


The Geothermal Energy Exhibition is being displayed at the power plant’s visitor’s center. In this exhibition, visitors and tourist may know how geothermal energy is generated and how it is being used in Iceland. This also showcases informative presentation and with multimedia shows all about green energy production and why it should be as a global energy source. So if one should want to know more details about geothermal energy or about the power plant, Hellisheidi Power Plant welcomes visitors from around the world and is open every day from 9 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon.