The UK’s ‘brilliant plan’ to repurpose abandoned coal mines 

Posted: May 21, 2021 by oldbrew in Emissions, Energy, geothermal


Coal mine shaft and winding tower [image credit: Andy Dingley @ Wikipedia]

First it has to work without serious drawbacks, then it has to make some economic sense, before even asking whether the plan might qualify as credible, let alone brilliant. 
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A plan to convert Britain’s disused, flooded coal mines into geothermal power plants is now gaining traction as permission is granted for a testing phase, says

Abandoned and flooded underground coal mines are plentiful in the North of England, Britain’s industrial revolution hub.

In South Tyneside, in the northeast of England, the Council has approved plans to “draw geothermal energy from abandoned flooded mines in the former Hebburn Colliery.” The mine was shut down in 1932 and has been disused since.

The pilot project will involve the drilling of two wells to transport water from the flooded mines, with drilling and testing for viability expected to be completed by Q3 2021.

Dunelm Geotechnical and Environmental Ltd hope to extract the water via vertical boreholes at a depth of 300-400 meters. A heat pump will be used to extract heat from the water, which will be compressed to a higher temperature.

A power plant on the mining site will distribute the energy to heat local buildings, such as residential tower blocks. The plan is to use solar panels and a combined heat and power unit to generate electricity to power the system.

The leader of South Tyneside Council, Tracey Dixon, stated, “The Minewater scheme is expected to deliver a reduction of 319 tonnes of carbon emissions a year, which will make a significant contribution to our ambition for carbon neutrality by 2030.”

n 2015, the U.K. government vowed to end coal production completely within a decade. For a country that pioneered the world’s coal production, and still generated enough energy from coal in 2013 to power 3 million U.K. homes, this marked a distinct shift in the government’s energy strategy.

The U.K.’s coal mining towns were hit hard by the closures of hundreds of mines from the 1980s onwards, sending unemployment in local communities soaring.

New renewable energy projects such as this could rejuvenate towns, encouraging alternative energy developments and bringing much-needed jobs back to the north of England.

Full article here.

  1. saighdear says:

    Huh, I posted something about this in scotland, some weeks ago. “died a death” – so is this the Labour’s old dead rabbit hop n jump?

  2. oldbrew says:

    The UK geothermal propaganda is getting louder…

    Huge underground source of green energy going untapped, report claims
    13 May 2021

    Deep geothermal heat energy could be deployed in urban areas to heat thousands of large properties, according to the report, which was published today (13 May) by the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA) and Arup.

  3. Adam Gallon says:

    ” A heat pump will be used to extract heat from the water, which will be compressed to a higher temperature”
    Somebody care to tell me how water will be compressed? As I’m sure my 45 or so, years old physics, tells me liquids are incompressible.

    [reply] How does an air source heat pump work? An air source heat pump takes heat from the air and boosts it to a higher temperature using a compressor.

    Read more: – Which?

  4. Graeme No.3 says:

    Adam Gallon:
    Don’t you know that The Science doesn’t require old facts? Thus when floating ice melts it raises sea levels – Archimedes is an old dead white man after all. Global warming has been going on for about 300 years and the oceans are warming, but they cannot be releasing CO2 because Henry is an old dead white man.
    So these ABC types think that there is a never ending supply of heat available underground. They never ask where that heat came from, or how long they can extract it with their schemes.They imagine that they can extract the heat and that ground water will remain at the same temperature for ever, or at least until the subsidies run out.
    I assume then they will panic because the heat pumps aren’t working and will look for someway to heat that water.

  5. tom0mason says:

    “A power plant on the mining site will distribute the energy to heat local buildings, such as residential tower blocks. The plan is to use solar panels and a combined heat and power unit to generate electricity to power the system.”

    Water pumps powered by solar energy in South Tyneside.
    RLOL Hahahahaha!

    Good luck with that you idiots!
    You would be better off fracking the methane out of the old mines.

  6. Hasbeen says:

    Fracking, methane, eeeek.

    Wash your mouth out you dreadful man.

  7. The article was written by a female journalist who has no engineering qualifications. Others can make up their own mind. 300 m is not very deep. There is no information on the measurement of the water temperature. The environmental lapse rate is about 6C (or K) per 1000 m. 300M down the temperature will be about 1.8C higher than the surface. At 300m down there is little geothermal temperature gain. One needs to be close to magma uplifts. This is unlikely in the vicinity of coal deposits which formed in surface depressions having swamps. I have been down mines (in Canada) of over 2000m deep. Even there it was not that warm with the surface temperature -15C.

  8. Phoenix44 says:

    I’m sure this isn’t remotely an accurate description of the project. It makes no sense as it stands. There’s no way pumping up water and compressing it can generate net energy. It would be far more efficient and much cheaper to just use the energy used to pump and compress directly for heating.

    I’m not convinced about the water either – water that’s sat around in mines is often quite contaminated and will need treatment before being discharged anyway.

    Seems like a starry eyed know-nothing piece by somebody who believes in energy unicorns if they are Green.

  9. Jim says:

    They are not saying superheated steam off water. Actually, you don’t need to superheat. Any temperature difference can modify the heating and cooling of a structure. And you do not need water, anything that goes thru a phase change will work, water is just most convenient. The problem is distribution, and upkeep. To keep it running. But, a new idea? A rehash, of a household pamphlet of the 1960’s, distributed in Missouri.

  10. stpaulchuck says:

    just another green blob unicorn

  11. Mack says:

    Hilarious. More ‘Fantasy Island’ economics driven by oodles of wishful thinking. Obviously, no actual grown ups were involved in the formulation of the technical aspects of these plans although, I presume, a fair few were involved in the drawing up of the related grant funding requests. Ching Ching!

  12. Duster says:

    This can’t be serious. It reads as if they were planning to politically redefine Pi as 3.0. Who came up with “compressing” water? There’s a very slight compressibility, but the pressures involved are the sort you find in the Marianas Trench to get less than 2% reduction in volume according various sources.