A planned garden city development in County Durham will be supplied with geothermal heat from the Coal Authority’s Dawdon mine water treatment scheme.
A planned garden city development in County Durham will be supplied with geothermal heat from the Coal Authority’s Dawdon mine water treatment scheme.

A new garden city development planned in County Durham will be supplied with geothermal heat from the Coal Authority’s Dawdon mine water treatment scheme which will treat water taken from an extensive network of flooded coal mines in the area.

The scheme is the result of a collaboration between the Coal Authority, Tolent Construction and Durham County Council. Mine heat is a renewable energy source that has the potential to have a zero-carbon footprint. One quarter of UK homes and businesses are sited on former coalfields and the water in the mines is a low carbon, sustainable heat source.

When underground mines are abandoned, the pumps that kept them dry are often switched off and the mines fill with water. This water is heated by geological processes and remains stable year-round.

The Coal Authority has calculated that the mines could provide all the heating requirements for the homes and businesses on the former coalfields. In the case of a district heating network, this energy can be transferred to a pipe network using a heat exchanger and then distributed to nearby homes.