The £300 000 project will be led by global engineering and construction company Foster Wheeler, in collaboration with the British Geological Survey.
The five-month-long project will assess the economics of flexible power generation systems which involve the production of hydrogen from coal, biomass or natural gas, its intermediate storage (for example, in underground salt caverns) and production of power in flexible turbines.
The ETI commissioned and funded project will look to map suitable hydrogen storage salt cavern sites in and around the UK. The sites, which tend to be located inland or up to 25 miles off the UK coastline, will need to be of sufficient size, depth, location and quality before they can be considered for hydrogen storage.
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The Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet is one of the most rapidly warming areas of the planet. This is causing concern as it contains enough water to raise global sea levels by 5m. By analysing the chemistry of microscopic marine algae that lived in the ocean surrounding Antarctica, scientists have created a record of the amount of melting of the ice sheet that stretches back 12,000 years. This window through time has already unlocked hidden patterns in our past climate.
This is the first freely available screening tool to cover the whole of England and Wales. GSHPs can provide an energy-efficient, low-carbon alternative to traditional heating/ cooling systems.
The British Geological Survey has developed this tool, in partnership with the Environment Agency, to encourage the uptake of open-loop GSHP technology in suitable areas.
Users can zoom and click on the map, type in a postcode or a place name to identify their location. The map shows whether the location is likely to be favourable or less favourable for an open-loop GSHP scheme.
A pop-up table and maps provide more information about the different factors affecting the outcome, including whether an aquifer is present beneath the site and the size of licensed groundwater abstractions in the vicinity.
More than 10 national datasets which influence the feasibility of large open-loop GSHP schemes have been incorporated into the web-based GIS tool.
The interactive exhibits will include a brand new 2708 gallon pool that will allow visitors to pilot an underwater ‘Remotely Operated Vehicle’ (ROV) and discover hidden treasures at the bottom of the deep blue ‘ocean’. Marine Geoscientists will be on hand to guide children and adults alike through the mysteries of this underwater environment.
Also on display will be a collection of 400 million year old fossil fish rescued from paving slabs on East Market Street, Edinburgh. These fish would have thrived in sub-equatorial lakes (at about the same latitude that South Africa occupies today). Some of our pavement specimens are up to 60cm in size.
Many people find it counterintuitive that underground temperatures as low as 10°C degrees are sufficient to keep our homes warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
Which parts of the UK are best for GSHPs?
Is the ground warmer in some places and cooler in others?
The British Geological Survey (BGS) has been carrying out a range of research across the UK to answer some of these questions.
It’s a fact that most rock types are suitable for GSHP technology, although some are better than others, for example, sandstone has a much higher thermal conductivity than gravel. The ground retains its heat so that at even very shallow depths of a few metres the seasonal temperature swing is far less than the air temperature. So even though southern areas are warmer than northern areas, ground source heat pumps can be used anywhere to heat your home.
The BGS has been carrying out research across the Glasgow area, and has produced 3D models of the underground that are amongst the most ambitious and detailed of their kind for any city in the world. These models can be used to help identify, and provide access to a reservoir of heat energy that exists beneath Glasgow, focusing on waters in abandoned and flooded mines. This could meet some of the city’s needs for many years to come and there is potential for other cities to do likewise both in the UK and further afield.
Seen from space our Sun is a variable and dynamic star, very different from its placid day-to-day appearance from Earth. Eruptions from the surface of the Sun, known as coronal mass ejections (CME’s), can cause real problems as they collide with the geomagnetic field surrounding the Earth. CME’s result in geomagnetic storms that have the potential to disrupt ground and space technologies, such as electricity transmission, communications and satellites.
The spectacular Northern Lights (aurora borealis) are also a consequence of space weather and CMEs. The Northern Lights usually occur when energy from the solar wind accelerates electrically charged particles towards the Earth’s polar atmosphere, but CME’s boost this process. If the CME’s are strong enough and the magnetic fields they contain point in the right direction this interaction can be very strong. If this happens we have a much greater chance of seeing the aurora further south than is usual. In the past few months, with solar activity increasing the aurora have been spotted in central Scotland and as far south as Lincolnshire, England.