After lunch, we visited the Pico Vermelho geothermal power plant. Dr. Maria da Graça Rangel gave a short presentation on the plant before showing it to us since once we went to the plant, it was quite loud to hear anything. The Pico Vermelho plant of 13 MW combined with four more geothermal plants on the island of 16.6 MW, provide a total power of almost 30 MW of geothermal energy, covering around 35% of the island's electricity needs. It was the first geothermal plant I had ever been to and despite the noise of the high-pressure steam being expelled from four different pipes, it felt very calm and clean to be producing 13 MW of electricity.
We then went to see some breaktaking views at Lagoa do Fogo (literally translated to Lake of Fire), where due to the crazy changing of rain to sun every five minutes, we witnessed a rainbow overlooking this gorgeous lake.
The next day brought us to the Caldeirão thermal plant. Here we were given brief presentations by engineers Egído Oliveira and Crispim Borges da Ponte. Then we strapped on our helmets and ear plugs and got to explore the plant. It was a stark contrast to the quite clean geothermal plant we had visited the day before, with oil covering many equipment parts and the extreme noise drowning out any sound of our voices. In contrast to the mere 13 MW of the Pico Vermelho plant though, this plant provides a whopping 98 MW of power, covering around 54% of the island's electricity needs from just one plant.
Caldeirão thermal plant
We then had another traditional lunch at the Miroma restaurant, this time various meats and vegetables cooked by geothermal energy and visited the region of Furnas (so-named due to the several geysers, or "furnaces" in this area). The plentiful geysers was a true testament to the energy Earth can provide us with without the need to dig down too deep. After seeing some more incredible viewpoints over pristine lakes, the trip came to an end.
Lagoas das Sete Cidades: Lagoa Verde e Lagoa Azul
It was an incredible couple of days in São Miguel island. Thank you so much to EDA and the ENTECH and SELECT MScs for sponsoring the technical visit and to all the amazing coordinators and staff at IST for their hard work in planning the trip and being our trusty photographers: Marta Abrantes, Duarte de Mesquita e Sousa, José Alberto Caiado Falcão de Campos, Jorge Matos and José Manuel Vaz Velho Barbosa Marques.