Heat energy beneath Glasgow

The BGS is working with Glasgow City Council to look into the use of heat energy from the ground to help to warm Glasgow's homes and communities.

Our studies are helping to identify which parts of the city would offer the best prospects of supplying this kind of energy; looking at the potential heat within minewaters, superficial deposits and bedrock aquifers beneath Glasgow.

This new source of energy could help Glasgow to meet government targets to ensure 11 per cent of heat demand comes from renewable sources by 2020.

It will also contribute to Glasgow's ambition, under the Sustainable Glasgow partnership, to become one of Europe's most sustainable cities within the next ten years. BGS expertise can help you find out more about the heat energy beneath Glasgow.

Energy from Glasgow's minewaters

Brown areas indicate where mining is known to have taken place. Red areas show where mining is likely to have been at shallow depths.

The BGS CUSP project has been investigating how much heat can be taken from waters in abandoned mines under Glasgow.

Our results suggest 40 per cent of the city's heat could be provided in this way; Glasgow's' miners may have left a valuable inheritance — a renewable and very green way of heating, and even cooling, the city.

How do abandoned mines produce heat?

The huge amounts of water now held in the shafts, and tunnels beneath Glasgow, can be tapped into.

Heat pumps 54 KB pdf which work in much the same way as fridges, can be used to 'concentrate' heat energy from lower temperature waters in the mines to make water hot enough to heat buildings. The heat can then be removed and used to warm the city's houses and offices.

During summer, when buildings like hospitals need to be kept cool, the system can be reversed; the excess heat is stored underground for use in the winter.

Does it work?

Yes! Glasgow already has a small scheme using heat from minewaters to keep 17 houses in Shettleston warm. This has worked well for over ten years.

How many schemes like this are possible?

Our new 3D models of Glasgow's geology and mine workings are helping to answer this question. Find out more about the heat energy beneath Glasgow

Glasgow's new city plan

Looking north-west along the river Clyde.

Glasgow City Council's Local Development Plan states:

'Should ground source heat prove an attractive proposition, the Council will bring forward new policy to ensure its potential is utilised, and to address any issues relating to design, environmental impacts, etc.'

Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council and chair of Sustainable Glasgow, said:

'We want developers and local communities to come forward in the future with projects which could use this new source of heating and help ensure that everyone in Glasgow is able to benefit from the new green energy revolution.'

Contact

Contact Dr Jon Busby or Dr Diarmad Campbell