WorldWide Drilling Resource®

First District Heating System Utilizing Mine Water Adapted from Information by the United Kingdom Government Construction of a geothermal district heating system utilizing mine water is underway in Seaham, County Durham, United Kingdom. The Seaham Garden Village development will have 750 apartments, 750 pri- vate homes, a school, shops, and medical facilities, located near existing commercial buildings. Geothermal heat will be supplied from the Coal Authority’s nearby Dawdon mine water treatment facility, which treats water abstracted from an extensive network of flooded abandoned coal mines in the area. Some years ago, the Coal Authority identified a risk to an aquifer due to rising water in the old mine. The mine water, containing more salt than sea water, could significantly diminish the quality of the drinking water if something wasn’t done. So the unique solution to protect the aquifer was to create a state-of-the-art active chemical treat- ment plant. Quality and quantity of the mine water, along with limited availability of land, the sensitive location being near a coast, and a nearby rail line crossing and road presented challenges. The building was designed to fit in with local development, and 89% of the waste generated during plant construction was recycled in the process. Solar panels were installed on the roof of the main building to produce elec- tricity to offset the cost of running the pumps. Heat exchangers, as well as a domestic heat pump, were installed to capture heat from the mine water and is currently provided to the offices, workshops, and crew rooms of the treatment facility. The UK Coal Authority is committed to creating a green future from the abandoned mines. Mine water can be an important, sustainable source of energy for the UK, while providing many commercial benefits and employment opportunities. It is thought there is enough energy potential in the UK’s flooded mines to heat all of the homes on the coalfields. 39 WorldWide Drilling Resource ® APRIL 2020 MIN