The World Geothermal Congress, held in Reykjavík’s iconic Harpa Concert Hall this week, has drawn 1,100 in person guests and another 900 virtual attendees from around 100 different countries. Bjarni Pálsson, chairman of the congress’ organisational committee, says it is a big recognition for Iceland to be selected as the conference site this year.
“We have been really lucky with our resources and have been able to utilise them very well for a long period,” Bjarni told RÚV, adding that other countries are looking to Iceland for assistance on how to utilise their geothermal energy sources. Iceland is also the site of a special geothermal training program established by the Icelandic government and the United Nations University in 1978. The program brings geothermal professionals from developing countries around the world to Iceland for a six-month intensive training program in geothermal science and engineering.
One fifth of the lectures and articles presented at this year’s congress are from the school’s graduates. Ingimar G. Haraldsson, the school’s assistant director, says Iceland is a great location for the program. “The knowledge here is so broad,” he stated. “We live in a northerly region and have such a great need for heating. We have direct utilisation; heating homes, swimming pools, aquaculture, greenhouses, even snowmelt. You can find specialists in so many areas here in Iceland.”
The next World Geothermal Congress is scheduled to take place in Beijing in three years.