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Harnessing the Forces of Nature


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Bathers outside the Svartsengi Geothermal Plant, Keflavik, Iceland Keflavik, Iceland

 There's nothing like a volcano to warm things up. And where there's heat, there's power. The Svartsengi Geo-thermal Plant in Keflavik, Iceland, located in the middle of an old lava field, produces enough hot water to heat area homes through a 186-mile pipe network--as well as 8 megawatts of electricity for the regional grid. But it's the waters that draw the crowds.

 The aptly named Blue Lagoon is filled with waste brine from the plant, cooled to a balmy bath temperature. Rich in minerals, some say it is said to have curative powers.

 In the Western U.S., where geothermal power is already in use, this approach may provide as much as 10% of all electricity by 2020.

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