Researchers say the award of £50,000 in research funding for a geothermal energy project in Glasgow to provide low carbon cooling will help de-risk similar work nationally.
The University of Strathclyde is leading the ‘HotScot’ project that aims to make use of energy extracted from flooded mines to power district cooling and heating functions across Scotland.
Early stage funding of £50,000 is being provided by the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) body to support the HotScot consortium. This consortium is made up of academics and other energy industry specialists and will later this year look to apply for further UKRI funding of between £10m and £50m to expand the work if testing is successful.
The planned expansion could see three new mine-water geothermal sites built across Scotland’s central belt as a means of providing energy storage, cooling and heating to homes and businesses via a distribution network.
Professor Zoe Shipton from the University of Strathclyde’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering says that successful testing of HotScot could be an important tool to realise Scotland’s net-zero greenhouse gas target by 2045.
The devolved authority is also looking to eliminate 75 per cent of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, requiring a range of new approaches to power key building functions such as cooling.
Professor Shipton says, “Heat trapped in flooded coal mines represents a vast untapped low-carbon energy resource. The UK’s former coal mines are a £3bn liability, but HotScot can demonstrate how these old mines could become an economic asset.”
“Flooded coal mines contain water with little to no seasonal variation in temperature making them an ideal heat source for district heating networks to support low-carbon, affordable heating, cooling and heat storage for local communities and businesses.”
The HotScot consortium claims that a major barrier to making greater use of geothermal energy from disused mines is presently based around proving the cost effectiveness of such solutions to investors.
A major focus of the current project will be to generate performance data that will be made publicly available through an information portal ran by the British Geological Survey, the group adds.
Research and development work undertaken as part of the project is seen by the consortium as being vital to de-risk he case for building similar geothermal sites elsewhere in the UK to support cleaner HVACR.