Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark visits Carbfix and ON Power at Hellisheiði
HRH Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark visited ON Power’s Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant today where he led a Danish business delegation studying energy issues and Carbfix’ CO2 mineralization at the power plant. Jeppe Kofod, the Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs, is also on the delegation that held a seminar at the power plant after visiting the Carbfix injection area and ON Power’s hydrogen unit at the site. The conversion of electricity into other energy carriers, including hydrogen, is an area of special interest during the visit.
Cascading use of geothermal energy
Brynhildur Davidsdottir, Chairwoman of the Board of Reykjavík Energy, the parent company of both ON Power and Carbfix, welcomed the crown prince at the Geothermal Exhibition housed in the power plant. Then the dignitaries and the business delegation took a short field trip in the vicinity of the power plant. There is the ON Power’s Geothermal Park, an industrial area for scientific and business development with various uses of geothermal energy are in the foreground. There, ON Power produces hydrogen for use in transportation, VAXA produces algae with residual heat from the power plant, GeoSilica extracts silica from the geothermal fluid for its line of health products, and recently the Swiss company Climeworks began direct capture of CO2 from the atmosphere, which is then mineralized by the Carbfix process. ON Power’s and Carbfix's CEOs - Berglind Rán Ólafsdóttir and Edda Pind Aradóttir, respectively – guided the dignitaries and the business delegation around the Geothermal Park.
Among the guests at the power plant today was also the Danish ambassador to Iceland, Kirsten Rosenvold Geelan, but the embassy had organized a seminar on energy issues held at the Hellisheidi Power Plant. Among panellists was Berglind Rán, CEO of ON. Apart from the interest in Carbfix’ carbon disposal, the Danes showed great interest in technologies to convert electricity into other energy carriers. Green electricity generation is growing rapidly, but one of the challenges in replacing fossil fuels is being to utilize environmentally friendly energy as widely as possible. Utilizing electricity directly or from batteries is not always suitable, especially in transport where the carbon footprint of fuel combustion is very high in many places. Transforming electrical energy to other carriers – called Power-to-X – implies better utilization of environmentally friendly energy that is already produced or the generating equipment already available. This is very much in line with what ON Power seeks to accomplish with the Geothermal Park.
Not the first time for the Royals
The Royal House of Denmark has previously been involved in energy issues in Reykjavík, as was remembered during the visit today. Exactly one hundred years ago, in the summer of 1921, Crown Prince Frederik’s great-grandfather and great-grandmother, Christian X and Queen Alexandrine, inaugurated the then brand-new power station in Reykjavík by Ellidaar River. Crown Prince Frederik’s great-great-grandfather and namesake – Frederik VIII – also visited Iceland. That was in 1907. During his trip around Southwest Iceland, which was on horseback, he stopped at Kolvidarholl Farm and guesthouse. The Hellisheidi power plant is located in the land of Kolvidarholl. There, the late king delivered a speech in which he referred to his two states, Denmark and Iceland. At this point, Iceland’s independence was hotly debated, and the king’s words ignited a storm so the Danish Prime Minister at the time threatened resignation unless the king withdrew his words. He did so, but nevertheless Iceland became a sovereign state in a royal union with Denmark just over a decade later, on December 1, 1918.
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