Is water from disused coal mines the best alternative to gas boilers?

A £450k project will explore whether mine water from disused coal mines could be used to heat homes and schools

Mines that were an integral part of the UK’s industrial revolution could soon be used to provide a sustainable heating solution for homes, businesses and schools across Wales.

The Welsh Government has unveiled more details about a £450,000 project that will explore whether mine water from disused mines has the potential to play a vital role in supplying Wales’ energy needs for years to come.

Mine water is considered low carbon, sustainable heat source that could deliver carbon savings of up to 75% compared to gas heating.

The Coal Authority plans to assess several sites about their potential benefits that could help Wales decarbonise faster.

It is estimated that currently, approximately 40% of the energy used in Wales provides heat to homes, businesses and industry.

Most of this heat comes from gas, but by 2025, there will be no gas connections in new build homes in Wales.

In Taff’s Well, a project heats a local pavilion and school by recovering heat from Taffs Well Thermal Spring.

It is believed that this could be expanded and deployed across the South Wales coalfield to recover heat from water that is associated with disused coal mines.

Welsh Government’s Climate Change Minister Julie James said: “Improving the energy efficiency of homes is essential as we front up to the climate emergency and build a stronger, greener and fairer Wales.

“To get there, we need to think innovatively and ensure we meet out renewable energy needs of the future, so I’m looking forward to hearing what the Coal Authority discover as part of their work.

“It’s very exciting that communities could be metres from a technology-ready alternative to traditional heating methods that could help us towards our journey to a net zero Wales by 2050.”

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