It is well-known to most visitors of Iceland that the Nordic island produces a vast majority of their energy with geothermal power. But how it is actually working? The Hellisheidi Power Plant is actually the key provider of energy and hot water for the Greater Reykjavik region – and it drives a visitor center explaining you the processes in a geothermal power plant. I had a visit there during our Icelandic Ring Road trip in May 2023.
Geothermal Exhibition – Location & Admission
The Geothermal Exhibition is just a very short detour from the Ring Road, if you head from Reykjavik to the East / South East in the direction of Selfoss. The actual driving time from the capital is less than half an hour. Due to its strong activity, the area around the power plant is also popular for ATV tours and similar trips. In addition, you should have a visit at the nearby Hveradalir Geothermal Area.
The exhibition at Hellisheidi Power Plant is typically open daily, 9:00 to 17:00. I don’t think it is necessary to pre-book a ticket, but if you so, you get a discount on the walk-in rate of 2,100 ISK, roughly 15 Euro. There is sufficient parking in front of the place – of course, including chargers for electric cars.
Geothermal Exhibition – The Visit
The in fact exhibition is on the upper floor, you can either take the stairs or the elevator. I really liked it, the tour was quite extensive as well. It starts with the geophysical basis, i.e. the composition of rock in Iceland and why the location of the Hellisheidi Power Plant is so attractive. You learn, how geothermal energy is produced and how the power plant is transporting electricity, but also heat to Reykjavik and surroundings.
While you get a “theoretical” view in videos, displays and exhibits, you can also see the machines, which I felt really cool. You can step out on a terrace and really “feel” the geothermal energy, but you can also go into two glassed rooms, where you can see the engines and turbines in fact working. I thus felt that this place is very educative, but also very transparent and stays in your mind.
A very interesting side exhibition of the power plant is Carbfix. The idea of the project is to press produced carbon dioxide back into the rocks of the soil below ground and by that having a step towards becoming carbon neutral. Even though there are just basic and minor setups currently, the technology felt really interesting to me.
Geothermal Exhibition – Services
The reception area of the exhibition offers some neat services. There is a self-sevice cafe with drinks and basic snacks. Apart from that, the place drives a very nice souvenir store. Unfortunately, they got t-shirts in very small sizes only.
Geothermal Exhibition – My View
The Geothermal Exhibition at Hellisheidi Power Plant is not overwhelmingly huge – you will stay there some 45 minutes roughly. However, I really liked the presentation and it is cool to see the plant in fact working. The services are excellent and it is likely just a short detour on your Iceland trip – so I would definitely recommend thinking about adding it to your bucket list.
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