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Abandoned coal mines are being transformed into a source of renewable energy by flooding

The UK successfully implemented its first project of creating renewable energy through abandoned mines in Gateshead.

Abandoned coal mines are being transformed into a source of renewable energy by flooding
Cover Image Source: Instagram | @coalauthority

Nature is wonderful in a myriad of ways. It has the power to alter an element's identity with time and space. This is evident by the transformative effect Britain's deep coal mines have been showing after decades of being one of the biggest reasons for pollution. Now, it is being utilized to supply green energy to the town of Gateshead, per Good News Network. The town is the first place to experience something like this in the country, but the success of the phenomenon has encouraged authorities to apply it to other towns. The aid of technology has allowed humans to reverse the output of coal mines, making it a source of green energy.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by The Coal Authority (@coalauthority)


 

The UK for many years has been prioritizing clean energy. By 2021, coal was just producing 2% of electricity in the country, per Ember Climate. Most of the electricity in the country is being supplied through oil and gas. This has led to massive abandoned coal mines all across the country. As years went by, these mines were flooded with water making it a source of geothermal energy. This energy is generated from hot water inside the earth's surface. It is used to generate heat and electricity. Thus, mines have become a perfect site for supplying such renewable energy to the cities. Gateshead hosts such a mine in its town. The town's council launched a mine water project in March 2023, with the objective of making use of that mine for renewable energy.



 

The authorities put in a large central heat pump in the mine. Mine water oftentimes can sit with a temperature of 100° Fahrenheit, or precisely 45°C. The water is then pumped using appliances to home heat pumps. The process increases the temperature further. The water then goes ahead and warms up the interior space and home water supply. After the heat from the water has been used, it is sent back to the mine where it again goes through the same process. The project has been successful in supplying low-carbon heating to 350 high-rise buildings, an art gallery, a college, an industrial park and several office buildings for the last 6 months.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by The Coal Authority (@coalauthority)


 

This method has a lot of benefits associated with it. The water is not impacted by seasons and it can also be used to cool the homes. “Recovering heat from mine water below the ground within abandoned coal mines provides an exciting opportunity to generate a low carbon secure supply of heat, benefitting people living or working in buildings on the coalfields,” Gareth Farr, head of heat and by-product innovation at the Coal Authority, told Euronews.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by The Coal Authority (@coalauthority)


 

UK government has given the Coal Authority the responsibility to own as well as manage the coal-mining infrastructure abandoned in the country. The water resources through the mines are estimated to be two billion cubic meters or half the amount of water in Loch Ness. Farr added, “With many millions of people living upon abandoned coalfields in Great Britain, the potential for mine water heat could be significant.” Gateshead project is not the first time coal mines have been used for such an objective. Countries like the Netherlands, Spain and Canada have invested in projects to use abandoned Coal Mines for creating renewable geothermal energy.



 

Apart from mines, the UK is also venturing into creating Geothermal energy out of wells, as reported by Good News Network. In 2019, engineers of the country finished up digging a well to utilize renewable energy through the setup.

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