The geothermal areas of Reykjanes peninsula provide many Icelanders with electricity and are extremely important to businesses in the area. Therefore, close monitoring of the geothermal areas and pipes that distribute geothermal water are a priority to HS Orka, the operator of the Reykjanes and Svartsengi geothermal power plants. Beginning in Winter 2017, Svarmi inspected pipes around the two power plants using drones fitted with RGB and thermal (LWIR) cameras to identify leaks and damage. Areas of anomalous heat, which indicate leaks of warm geothermal water or steam, are not visible to the naked eye and are extremely difficult to identify without thermal cameras. With the imagery provided by Svarmi, HS Orka was able to identify and repair the pipes in the geothermal areas, and Svarmi will continue regularly monitoring the pipes in the future.


Inspection of geothermal pipes


HS Orka


Custom drone fitted with RGB and thermal (LWIR) cameras

Slide the vertical bar to reveal the thermal image below.

Seeing is believing

Potential leaks are identified by thermal anomalies in the pipe where the RGB images show no sign of damage on the surface. 

The combined power of RGB and thermal images

The geothermal power plants on Reykjanes include hundreds of kilometers of pipe, which would be impossible to inspect without a bird’s-eye view. Thousands of RGB and thermal images were taken of pipes near the Reykjanesvirkjun and Svartsengi power plants in order to create „fly-over“ videos, orthomosaics and 3D models of the pipes for faster identification of damage and leaks.

Advantages of drone inspection

Due to the thick insulation casing on geothermal pipes, leaks and damage are often not visible from the outside. The thermal imagery allows for efficient, fast and thorough identification of potential leak sites which can then be inspected by experts, saving time and money.