Fracking firm Cuadrilla has signed an agreement with Geothermal Engineering Ltd (GEL) to look into generating renewable heat from disused oil and gas wells.
Backed by a £55,000 grant from DECC, the project will initially focus on the technical design of the system before considering a potential field trial.
It aims to show geothermal renewable heat can be sustainably delivered from deep wells that were originally drilled for other purposes such as oil and gas extraction.
According to GEL, using existing wells could reduce deep geothermal energy costs by up to 80%.
Energy Secretary Ed Davey said: “Geothermal heat could play a huge role in Britain’s low carbon future, but the cost of drilling coupled with the risks of not succeeding have proved significant barriers.
“If we can develop these technologies so that exhausted shale gas wells can then be used for renewable geothermal heat, we can not only use gas to replace coal but use shale gas as a bridge to true low carbon heat.”
The project follows GEL’s field trials of a deep geothermal single well solution carried out in Cornwall last year.