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Could abandoned coalmines become new source of renewable energy?

Research carried out by the Nottingham Trent University found that water present in disused coal mining pits can become a new source of renewable energy.

The findings have emerged during a study by the university along with renewable energy firm Alkane Energy that determined that the heat found in mine groundwater can be used to heat and cool around 45,000 homes buildings in Edwinstowe, UK.

The research stated that a ground-source heat pump could be used to pump water from the mine to the surface where heat exchanger can be used to extract thermal energy.

The temperature of the water can be increased by condensing the energy and re-circulating it using a central heating-type system.The water can then be sent back to the mine to naturally heat.

The system has already been tested at the former Markham Colliery in North East Derbyshire where the heat from the pits were used in an industrial building owned by Alkane.

According to the findings, of the research the technology can also be used when solar or wind energy is insufficient to power the ground source heat pump.

Nottingham Trent University Professor Amin Al-Habaibeh said: "In a way we may never have previously envisaged, coal mines could once again be used to provide warmth to thousands of homes across the UK."


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