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Old mine workings could create Glasgow geothermal network

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Researchers at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) have started work on a project to look at the feasibility of using water in abandoned mine workings to create a geothermal heat source for the city.

The project, which is being funded by Scottish Power, will aim to identify and map reservoirs of water in the mine workings, which could generate up to 40% of the heat needed by the city.

According to GCU geotechnical specialist Nicholas Hytiris, once the correct data have been gathered on the location of the underground water reservoirs, special ground source heat pumps could be used to extract heat from the water. The extracted energy would then be used for the heating of homes or offices.

He said: “After Hamburg and Stockholm, Glasgow could be the third city in the world to have under street heating. In three years’ time we will have a full and accurate record of what is going on beneath our feet and then we can go on from there.

“We believe this technology will in the long term be able to provide cheaper and more sustainable heating, which could be an answer to fuel poverty issues prevalent in many areas of Glasgow, particularly those with a mining past and a legacy of poor quality housing and high unemployment.”

Through use of the British Geological Survey’s 3D geological model of Glasgow, Hytiris’s team will start the three year project by mapping the Clyde Gateway regeneration area but he hopes to expand the project to other parts of the city where historic mining activity is recorded.

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