Geothermal energy a step closer in Newcastle

28th June 2011


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IEMA

A pioneering project to use geothermal energy to power the centre of Newcastle has found a hot water source 2km under the city.

Newcastle University’s Institute for Research on Sustainability (NIRS), which is leading the project, announced yesterday (27 June 2011) that drilling on a site near St James’ Park football stadium had located hot water along one of the UK’s largest geological fault zones – the so-called Ninety Fathom Fault Zone.

The announcement is an important breakthrough for the project which aims to capture geothermal energy and put it at the heart of the city centre’s regeneration, pumping the water to the surface and using it to heat local buildings.

“This hot water could be available 24/7 because it doesn't depend on the weather. It is as cheap and as low carbon as it comes,” said Professor Paul Younger, director of the NIRS.

The research institute gained funding from DECC, the Newcastle Science City Partnership and the British Geological Survey, to drill the 2km deep borehole, the first deep excavation in the UK since the 1980s.

The university confirmed the next step is for scientists to run tests on the layer of sandstone which lies above the water source and acts as an insulator for the hot water.

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