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Summerschool is out

Summerschool is out

The EIMUR annual summerschool or „Sustainability Innovation and Design Workshop in NE-Iceland“ was in session May 20th – 25th. This year 29 students attended from Stuttgart Media University and Iceland University of the Arts. At the end of the workshop the students presenter their ideas about innovative ways to utilize local resources in a sustainable manner. A special jury then chose the project: „MAGMA- Museum About Geothermal Magma Activities“ to be the best.

The workshop is held in collaboration with Stuttgart Media University and Iceland University of the Arts. It´s purpose is to highlight opportunities in the area regarding innovation, sustainable solutions and economic development according to the goals of EIMUR. All ideas were also to be in accordance with the UN Sustainability Development Goals.

The participants in the workshop are studying industrial and product design at a university level and the workshop is a part of their studies. The students were divided into six groups, each designated an area in NE-Iceland to work with. Their role was to study the area and subsequently propose a project, product or service they felt was missing or could be a good addition to each area. During the workshop members of the group stayed at the farmhotel Narfastaðir in Reykjadalur and had access to work facilities in the Innovation Center at Seigla in Laugar.

The projects

Kósí- project
At Hveravellir in Reykjahverfi-district geothermal heat has been utilized for food production since 1904. The current crop consists mostly of tomatoes, cucumbers and paprikas, about 500 tons per year. The district is rich in geothermal rescources and agricultural knowlegde. This proposal is based on enhancing these elements by expanding the production, adding mushrooms, loofahs and Icelandic moss to the mix. These species can be used for food production, cosmetics and health products. The mushrooms can also mixed up with the organic waste from the current production to grow eco-friendly packaging. The idea also included proposals of related products that could be manufactured and sold on site.

Volcanic Oasis
At Bjarnarflag by Lake Mývatn the idea was to build and develop a Volcanic Oasis both for tourists and the local community. A facility with a mixture of micro algae production and relaxing atmosphere using geothermal heat and black volcanic sand at the center. This would be done in facilities already at the site, bringing them back to life. Micro algea can be a very valuable product that can be used in the health and pharmaceutical industry.

At the Bakki industrial site the precense of a silicon metal plant offer various ways to further develop industry on the site. This proposal consisted of ways to develop symbiotic industrial processes, named Sym-Bakki, where what is now considered waste and low value side products become valuable raw material for various production lines. Thereby creating social, economical and environmental benefits and making the Bakki site an Eco-industrial park. The main idea was based around using the gas emission and wasted heat from the silicon metal plant, along with access to other resources such as abundant fresh- and seawater, to grow marine algae suitable for the health and pharmaceutical industry. The group also emphasised the importance of increasing the utilization of environmentally friendly fuel, such as electricity, for transportation in the area.

Húsavík Community Greenhouse
In Húsavík the idea was to develop ways to enhance geothermal food production for increased public health all your round, as well as increasing the flora of local food avilable for tourists. One of the proposals was to change a large warehouse located in the middle of Húsavík into a „Greenhood“, a shared garden/kitchen and café. There, the community and restaurant owners could grow various foods in a first class environment. Another propsal was to build a microfarm close by where butterflies and other insects are the main producers/products and act as an attraction as well.

MAGMA- Museum About Geothermal and Magma Activities
Krafla geothermal area attracts many tourists each year. However the students felt that further activities and access to information about this spectacular area was needed. They proposed to set up a museum where guests could, among pther activities, walk down a spiral staircase towards the simmering magma below. The museum would also inform guests about how electricity is produces with geothermal energy and also allowing them to listen the sounds of the earth through a steam organ. In addition the proposal included making an app that guests could use to learn more about geothermal activities and to help them avoid the dangers of a volcanically active area.

In northeast Iceland there is already a variety of small scale food production. To increase access to these treats, both for locals and tourists, the group proposed a food market, or Húsa-Torg (torg means a square or center). The market would benefit those already producing food as well as some of the ideas proposed in this workhop that could be realized in the future. The proposal also included the idea to offer „Lavastone Pizza“, that is, a pizza baked on a lavastone slab using geothermal energy.

The results
After the students pitched their ideas the jury went to work. After some delibiration they concluded that MAGMA- Museum About Geothermal and Magma Activities was the winning idea. After the handing over of prizes this year´s workshop was over and preparations for next year started.

Members of the jury were: Kristján Þór Magnússon mayor of Norðurþing, Dagbjört Jónsdóttir mayer of Þingeyjarsveit, Albertína Friðbjörg Elíasdóttir member of parliament and former managing director of EIMUR, Guðrún Ólafía Brynleifsdóttir business development manager at Landsvirkjun, Reinhard Reynisson managing director of the Northeast Iceland Development Agency, Silja Jóhannesdóttir project manager at the Northeast Iceland Development Agency and Christin Schröder director of Visit Húsavík and an insect innovator.

Further information about the workshop can be found here.