Abandoned mineshafts could give modern Glaswegians heat

Glasgow residents could have a convenient and plentiful source of geothermal energy right beneath their feet, in the abandoned mineshafts and mining structures buried under the city’s streets.

The British Geological Survey (BGS) is currently collaborating with the Glasgow City Council to determine which areas of city are best positioned to access geothermal energy from rocks and water in abandoned mineshafts.

The BGS Chief Geologist for Scotland, Dr. Diarmad Campbell says the mineshafts could provide long-term sources of heating energy which will not pose a threat to adjacent ecosystems.

“There is a lot of heat stored in the rocks and minewaters beneath the city. We estimate that about 1% of this – which translates to around 60 litres of water per second for each square kilometre – can be removed each year and this could provide Glasgow with a low-carbon energy source for at least the next 100 years.”
Ground-source heating and cooling systems rely upon access to water, and the abandoned mineshafts and structures already provide well-defined water locations.

Researchers are now using 3D models based on historic mining records and other data sources to determine the location and geological character of Glasgow’s long-forgotten mine shafts.

Image of Entrance to the Little Wonder Coal Mine