Green rev­o­lu­tion only a few yards from Celtic Park

Bore­holes were drilled in Glas­gow yesterday in a bid to har­ness the heat from un­der­ground mines and could see the tech­nol­ogy ex­ported glob­ally,

The Herald - - NEWS - re­ports MA­SON BOY­COTT-OWEN

IT IS a small hole in the East End of Glas­gow, but it has the po­ten­tial to make the area the world cen­tre for re­search into geo­ther­mal en­ergy.

The first hole, which was drilled yesterday just across the road from Celtic Park, is part of a pro­ject with so much re­search po­ten­tial that sci­en­tists, aca­demics and busi­nesses from all over the world will be look­ing to Glas­gow to in­form the en­ergy projects of to­mor­row.

The 12 bore­holes across the city will record data as part of the UK Geoen­ergy Ob­ser­va­to­ries (UKGEOS) pro­ject and if suc­cess­ful could see parts of the city be­ing heated from old mine work­ings and the tech­nol­ogy to be ex­ported to other cities across the globe.

The £31 mil­lion pro­ject will record in­for­ma­tion about the rocks to an un­prece­dented level, with some go­ing down al­most 200 me­tres into the ground.

The East End sits on the old mines which con­tain warm wa­ter, which have the po­ten­tial to be used to heat homes and busi­nesses in the area.

This data will then be shared for free to any­one who wants to ac­cess it, mean­ing stu­dents, aca­demics, sci­en­tists, and busi­ness­men across the world can ac­cess this data and use it to in­form their own re­search and in­no­va­tions.

Zoe Ship­ton, pro­fes­sor of ge­o­log­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing at the Univer­sity of Strath­clyde, said: “Big sci­ence ques­tions need big pieces of kit. Physi­cists have their CERN (home of the Large Hadron Col­lider) and we have our UKGEOS and this is go­ing to be a lab­o­ra­tory with a 15-year de­sign life.

“We can rarely carry out a con­trolled ex­per­i­ment in the way that chemists and physi­cists are able to do. This is what UKGEOS will al­low us to do – we’re go­ing to char­ac­terise a cu­bic kilo­me­tre of rock in Glas­gow and know the char­ac­ter­is­tics of the rock to an in­cred­i­ble de­gree.

“We’ll have sen­sors down those bore­holes that lis­ten to the earth and hear the changes that hap­pen where we have earth­quakes. This sen­sor go­ing just across the road will be able to hear earth­quakes from across the planet, and ones nearerby as the sea­sons change – or where some­body scores at Celtic Park.

“If we are go­ing to meet the de­mands of the Paris Treaty and de­crease or reliance on fos­sil fu­els and in­crease the abil­ity of our­selves to power our homes and heat our homes, and run our econ­omy on re­new­able en­ergy, we need to make it pos­si­ble for busi­nesses to come in.”

Apart from us­ing hot wa­ter from the earth to heat peo­ple’s homes, ge­o­log­i­cal re­search from this site may have many more ap­pli­ca­tions for cre­at­ing a greener way of liv­ing.

David Man­ning, pro­fes­sor of soil sci­ence at New­cas­tle Univer­si­tym, said: “In this coun­try we’ve been min­ing for over 2,000 years, even be­fore the Ro­mans in Corn­wall we were trad­ing tin to the Phoeni­cians. We need to take all that knowl­edge from oil and gas and take it across to geo­ther­mal so that we can run with that given it’s car­bon free.

“Hot wa­ter com­ing from the in­side of the earth can be used to heat peo­ple’s houses. We’re also in­ter­ested in en­ergy stor­age – what came up can come down, so it is pos­si­ble for us to put heat from the sur­face into un­der­ground stores and take it back out again when we need it in win­ter. Hot sum­mers can be cap­tured, put un­der­ground and taken out again.

As well as ask­ing the big sci­en­tific ques­tions, which could rev­o­lu­tionise the way we think about heat­ing or homes and stor­ing en­ergy, the bore­holes will also be ex­plor­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of heat­ing the lo­cal area of the East End and Clyde Gate­way.

Al­though re­new­able en­ergy is good at gen­er­at­ing elec­tric­ity, heat is more dif­fi­cult to trans­port and store. Last year Scot­land pro­duced only six per cent of its heat from re­new­able sources, com­pared to 68% of its elec­tric­ity.

Ian Man­son, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Clyde Gate­way, said: “The East End has a his­tory of great in­dus­try and to re­gen­er­ate the area we need to look at the in­dus­tries of the fu­ture. We hope this pro­ject will cre­ate a greater fo­cus on re­new­ables and bring en­gi­neer­ing com­pa­nies and jobs to the area.

“We’ve got the tar­get of achiev­ing 20,000 jobs for this area, we’ve al­ready at­tracted 5,000 – some of which are in re­new­ables.

“We’re look­ing at the low hun­dreds, but there’s no rea­son why we shouldn’t be aim­ing at the thou­sands for jobs in this area.”

Hot wa­ter com­ing from the in­side of the earth can be used to heat peo­ple’s houses

„ Above, a drilling rig makes a start on the first bore­hole for the UK Geoen­ergy Ob­ser­va­to­ries pro­ject. Right, it is hoped old mine work­ings will pro­vide heat for the city.

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