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article imageGlasgow to be heated by underground water

By Amanda Payne     Feb 14, 2013 in Environment
Scientists at the Glasgow Caledonian University are investigating old, abandoned mines to see if the water in them can be used to heat the city using geothermal energy.
Currently blueprints of the city's underground reservoirs are being created, starting in an area called the Clyde Gateway where a regeneration programme is underway. It will take three years to map the whole city.
It's not a new idea.The Ancient Romans and the Chinese were among the first to use hot springs to heat their homes. Nowadays, cities such as Hamburg and Stockholm already use the idea of geothermal energy to keep public roads and pavements ice free during winter.
Glasgow Caledonian University
Glasgow Caledonian University
Thomas Nugent
Dr Nicholas Hytiris, who is a geotechnical specialist, explained that the water remains warm underground, despite freezing temperatures above ground. Pumps would be used to bring the water to the surface and extract the heat for use in domestic heating."We believe this technology will, in the long term, be able to provide cheaper and more sustainable heating, which could be an answer to fuel poverty issues prevalent in many areas of Glasgow."
Geothermal pump in a home
Geothermal pump in a home
Mark Johnson
One area of Glasgow has already been using geothermal heating in a ground breaking sustainable energy project. The Glenalmond Street estate is in Shettleston, an inner city area in the poorer East End of Glasgow. The estate of 17 homes was built as the result of a competition held in 1997 to create an energy efficient community.Not surprisingly, tenants on the estate are very pleased with the low cost of their fuel bills at a time when energy prices continue to soar. The estate uses solar water panels also, which are linked to the geothermal system. The water for the geothermal system comes from a mine 100 metres under the estate.
The British Geological Survey will provide data to aid the project with some funding coming from energy company Scottish Power. A spokesman for Scottish Power, Derek Drummond, said "This is an excellent project which could prove to be very beneficial for the city and its residents.It is important that we can fully understand how this energy will integrate with the electricity network."
The Glasgow Caledonian University are understandably excited about the project, which will involve a number of their staff. Mr Bjorn Aaen, a former technical adviser to Glasgow City Council was the first to come up with the idea of using the old mines that criss-cross the city. He said "We aim to show that harnessing this energy is a viable option, which we believe it is. We’re confident that utilising this technology properly will lead to a large energy saving for thousands of Glaswegians.” The first part of the project, based on the Clyde Gateway regeneration area, will be done by Miss Emma Church, a graduate of GCU, as part of her PhD research.
It will be some time before all Glaswegians will benefit from this new technology but if the reaction of the residents of Glenalmond Street Estate are anything to go by, Glasgow will be a warmer, happier place in winter.
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