Old mine workings that have been allowed to flood following closure of the mine have become an excellent source of groundwater (minewater) at temperatures that are ideal for passing over a plate heat exchanger to convert to heat.
Drilcorp has been at the forefront in the development of the techniques needed to drill through sequences of mine workings to exploit this resource and provide a viable alternative to traditional heat sources that require the burning of fossil fuels.
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When underground mines eventually close and become abandoned, they quickly fill with water as the pumps that are used to remove water are turned off. Over time, this water is heated underground through geological processes and it is possible for that heat to be harnessed as geothermal energy.
Given that one quarter of UK residential properties sit on top of old coalfields, the UK government believe there is great potential for geothermal heating as an alternative to gas heating systems.
As experts in this field, Drilcorp have a proven reputation in mine source geothermal borehole systems. In recent years we have worked on a range of projects in this field.
Drilcorp has been involved with the development and testing of a series of mine source boreholes on two sites for this client. Work has involved the deepening of some boreholes into deeper mine workings, extensive development clearance to bring the boreholes to optimum performance and test pumping between boreholes and workings at different levels to choose the on the optimum scenario for the heat pumps to air condition the vast warehouses. This client has been a pioneer in the research and development of mine source as an option for reduced energy consumption.
Drilcorp drilled five large diameter mine source boreholes using reverse circulation methods into the flooded workings of the Glasgow Upper and Glasgow Main seams. The boreholes will be used as an observatory to investigate the response of the workings to heat abstraction and storage providing a great insight into the future of mine source heating and cooling technology.
Once again Gateshead is at the forefront of mine source technology development and Drilcorp is onboard to assist. The project, to drill two deep abstraction boreholes to take Minewater from Hutton Coal Seam workings and one recharge borehole to dispose of the used Minewater into shallower High Main Coal Seam workings.
Because the target workings were very old and records on their exact locations were sketchy at best this posed an unacceptable risk in that production boreholes may not hit the target worked seam. The project needed de-risking and was therefore split into an exploration phase and a production phase.
Drilcorp design engineers liaised with the Client and specialist Coal Authority advisors to develop a risk mitigation plan to ensure that the expensive large diameter production boreholes were drilled in locations guaranteed to intersect the target mine workings.
Exploration Phase (completed).
A series of Exploration boreholes were to be drilled using very exacting coring methods to maintain verticality while obtaining high quality cores of the coal measures being penetrated. Drilcorp’s specialist verticality survey tool was used to verify the accuracy of the borehole alignment and the exact location of mine workings discovered. When mine workings were discovered in the Hutton Seam, they were test pumped to prove suitability for abstraction. When workings were discovered in the High Main Seam. Water injection tests were carried out to prove suitability for reinjection.
Production Phase (Currently under construction)
Work is currently underway on this exciting project to enlarge the successful exploration boreholes and convert them into production abstraction/reinjection sites. After extensive research suitable casing materials were established that would withstand long term contact with mine water chemistry.
Gateshead Council and Gateshead Energy Company are leading the way in creating a ‘greener’ Northeast.
Drilcorp work with a number of prestigious clients from Local Authorities, Food and Drink Manufacturers, Consultants and Contractors and Water Utility Companies.