Heat source beneath UK streets

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Natural water in the ground below us could be used as a low carbon heat source in many UK towns and cities, says new research from the British Geological Survey (BGS).

The public research body is now calling for more research to understand how geothermal technologies could be scaled up across the UK. 

The findings are based on data from a three-year-long study at one of the UK Geoenergy Observatories in Cardiff, one of a network of sites being created across the country to research new and alternative energy supplies in the subsurface. 

The £300,000 study was funded by Innovate UK, the BGS, WDS Green Energy and the European Commission, to examine the environmental impact of a pilot groundwater heating scheme that heats a school building in the Welsh capital using electric heat pumps. 

Data from the natural groundwater system below Cardiff is being collected by the Urban Geo Observatory, a network of 61 boreholes equipped with temperature and water-level sensors, to build up a picture of the groundwater temperatures in the aquifer found just 10 m below the ground surface. 

Photo: BGS

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