Mine water energy to be used at major Seaham development
Dawdon mine water treatment scheme is near the site
CONSTRUCTION to create a groundbreaking heating scheme using mine water energy is set to start in spring.
The Seaham Garden Village development will consist of 1,500 homes, a school, shops, and medical and innovation centres.
The new development will be supplied with geothermal heat from the Coal Authority’s nearby Dawdon mine water treatment scheme, which treats water abstracted from an extensive network of flooded abandoned coal mines in the area.
Mine heat can be an energy source that is unaffected by external factors, meaning it has a stable price and is not subject to future variations or rises in energy prices.
It is a renewable energy source that also has the potential to have a zero carbon footprint.
Jeremy Crooks, Head of Innovation at the Coal Authority, said: “Heat from abandoned coal mines is an innovative and practical solution to one of the big challenges facing our economy, de-carbonising our heating supplies
“There would be wider benefits to this sustainable energy source too, as it would also attract new investment, create employment and deliver lower fuel bills to Seaham Garden Village and to other district heating schemes to be built on the coalfields.
“The abandoned coal mines in the UK present an enormous opportunity to us as a source of geothermal energy.”
The scheme, the result of a collaboration between the Coal Authority, Tolent Construction, and Durham County Council, is also unusual in that it does not use metal pipes, due to the lower temperatures involved.
Mr Crooks said: “The construction of Seaham Garden Village has huge implications for the future of energy in the UK, and could lead to the building of district heating schemes, heated commercial spaces and undercover horticultural facilities in coalfield areas.”
He said the breakthrough is important when considering the impact of climate change, and the steps the UK is taking in order to reduce its carbon footprint.
Mr Crooks said: “Mine water energy has the potential to be an important, sustainable source of energy for the UK, whilst also providing many commercial benefits.
“This is very much a viable solution when looking to help resolve Britain’s future energy crisis.”
It is conceivable that former coalfield communities will be revitalised in the process as the new, cheaper energy source brings with it potential employment opportunities.
Mr Crooks said new technology could make coalfield areas more attractive to investors and businesses, reviving some areas of the UK where it is most needed.
SOURCE on THE NORTHERN ECHO
By Gavin Havery gavinhaveryechoReporter (Derwentside & Tyneside)