One of the largest challenges Faroese communities face today is how to store the excess energy which is mainly produced from fluctuating wind power.
Umhvørvisstovan, the Faroese Environmental Agency, has commissioned and released a report, funded under the NPA SMARTrenew, to investigate the possibility to store energy in the Faroese basalts which, if successful, would be a sustainable way to store excess energy for later usage.
The report titled "Modelling of the heat dynamics of a geothermal well at Umhvørvisstovan" was carried out in conjunction with Jarðfeingi, the Faroese Geological Survey. The study focuses on how the heat flow in a shallow geothermal borehole is affected by the usage of the borehole by doing a series of tests.
The Faroe Islands is approximately 1,400 km2 and the population is approximately 53,000 people. The inhabitants in the islands mostly live in private houses in small communities where the majority of the houses use oil boilers as the heating source.
The islands have a vision to transform all energy use on land from oil to renewables with world record conditions for producing electricity from wind and most energy use will thus be based on electric power. Transforming space heating form oil to renewables is seen as a low hanging fruit as electric heat pumps are a proven technology for heating. Since 2008 the usage of ground source heat pumps has increased on the islands and today over 1000 ground source heat pumps utilizing shallow geothermal heat are operating and producing energy for the Faroese homes.
Jarðfeingi has measured over 700 of these shallow geothermal boreholes during especially the last four years. These measurements have given a good overview of the geothermal gradient in areas of the islands. These gradients vary from 2,0 °C/m to almost 7 °C/m.
With 3D modelling of the heat dynamics, it will be possible to predict the general behaviour of high-temperature heat storage, and thereby come closer to a conclusion on, to what degree it is a feasible method to recover excess energy in the Faroe Islands.