Water from neglected mines could be used to provide the heating and electricity for buildings in Staffordshire.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council plan to create electricity from the water pumped out of the mines which will be used to heat buildings owned by the authorities.
The scheme will hopefully be completed within the next 20 years and will create some jobs in the area. If the plans are successful and go ahead, this will be the first scheme of this kind in England.
The scheme is still at an early stage but if everything goes to plan, works could begin in Stoke-on-Trent in the next year. The mines in the area have some of the hottest mines in the UK. Some mines have water at 40°C – 20°C above average!
At first, the water will be used to heat buildings in Stoke-on-Trent’s business district. If it goes well, the project will expand and the water will be used to heat other areas of the city including residential areas.
The system will work by extracting the heat out of the water pumped out from the mines and using a heat exchanger to pump it through the buildings.
According to Prof Peter Styles, there are successful schemes already like this in the Netherlands and Poland.
He added: “We’ve forgotten about local sources of heat and energy because we’ve been pampered by having access to cheap North Sea gas and we need to be a bit smarter.”
“It’s not rocket science, it’s just extracting heat which is naturally there in the ground and re-injecting it elsewhere – it’s a cyclical process.”
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