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Vol. 77 No. 10 (2022): The South African Dental Journal
					View Vol. 77 No. 10 (2022): The South African Dental Journal

Move over Eskom, perhaps it’s time for South Africa to engage with Iceland to solve our looming
chilly and gloomy prospects. Iceland is digging holes into volcanos in search of a new form of
renewable energy. Scientists have begun boring into the world’s deepest geothermal hole (3.1
miles deep) in the Reykjanes peninsula where they hope to use the extreme pressure and heat
to tap into a source of electricity. At these depths, there is a mixture of molten rock and water
which are under extreme heat and pressure. This condition imparts to the water properties that
make it neither a steam or a gas, and turn it into what is known as a “supercritical steam,”.
Supercritical steam has far more potential energy than either of the aforementioned states of
matter, and may be the key to generating vast amounts of electricity. However, even if such
volcanic holes were available in South Africa, we would still need to be ethically conscious
of the negative environmental impact and costs of deep drilling, and weigh these up against
the possible benefits. Ultimately future research needs to focus on renewable and sustainable
energy (and then on dispelling the notion that dentistry is painful and stressful for clinicians and
patients alike!)

Published: 2022-12-19

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