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Low enthalpy heat recovery potential from coal mine discharges in the South Wales Coalfield

Farr, Gareth; Sadasivam, Sivachidambaram; Manju, ; Watson, Ian.A.; Thomas, Hywel.R.; Tucker, David. 2016 Low enthalpy heat recovery potential from coal mine discharges in the South Wales Coalfield. International Journal of Coal Geology, 164. 92-103. 10.1016/j.coal.2016.05.008

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Abstract/Summary

Fossil fuels generate the majority of space heating and hot water demand in the UK, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and energy security issues. Concerns about the long term availability of traditional fossil fuels are recognised by the UK government and sustainable, low carbon supplies are being actively investigated. One such option in the renewable energy mix is the use of low enthalpy heat, using open loop ground source technology to recover heat from abandoned flooded coal mines. To assess this potential in the South Wales Coalfield we measured annual temperatures and chemistry at sixteen mine water sites. Mean monthly temperatures ranged from 10.3 to 18.6 °C with an overall mean of 13.3 °C, proving their suitability for low enthalpy heat recovery. Collated data shows the geothermal gradient can vary within the South Wales Coalfield. Exothermic chemical reactions within abandoned mine workings can also contribute to the overall temperature of mine waters. Using discharge and temperature data we estimate that 42 MW of potential heating energy could be generated from currently monitored mine water discharges, however historic dewatering data from operational mines suggests that 72 MW could be generated, enough to heat about 6500 homes. The true potential, if new pumping wells were drilled to exploit flooded workings is likely to be much greater. The use of low enthalpy mine water for space heating and hot water indicate a total emission reduction of around 59% and 76% compare to main gas and electricity heating respectively.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.coal.2016.05.008
ISSN: 01665162
Date made live: 18 May 2016 14:34 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/513670

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