Case Study - Geothermal Energy from Abandoned Mines

 Fossil fuels dominate energy production, around one quarter of UK electricity is supplied from renewable energy supplies, yet heat production accounts for over half our energy demand and remains heavily reliant on gas. The UK has been a net importer of this since 2004. Many towns and cities in the UK and beyond were built on the strength of their underlying coal reserves and over 15 billion tonnes of coal were extracted from subsurface UK over the last century. Most deep coal mines are now abandoned and flooded leaving a legacy of vast networks of flooded galleries and shafts at depths of up to a few hundred metres below the surface where water temperatures are constantly around 12-16°C.

 Minewater can be accessed by drilling boreholes directly into the flooded workings, water is pumped out, heat is removed using a heat exchanger before it is returned to the workings. Using heat pumps it is possible to boost the temperature of the minewater to a more useful temperature suitable for providing space heating and hot water at district scale. GED have undertaken several feasibility studies for minewater district heat schemes, for local authorities, developers and community groups with some promising results. This energy source is compatible with district heat networks and offers energy security, reduced carbon emissions and improved comfort levels.

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