Water from abandoned mines in Cumbria 'could heat homes'

Water in disused mines in Cumbria could be used to heat homes and businesses in the county, experts have said.

Researchers from Britain's Energy Coast said warm water in flooded pits could be pumped to the surface and the heat could be extracted and distributed to local communities.

The scheme has already being tried in other parts of the UK, including Glasgow and Stoke-on-Trent.

Exploratory studies are being carried out in Workington and Whitehaven.

The process uses pumps to extract heat from water, which can provide a cheap way to heat homes, researchers said.

Glenalmond Street in the east end of Glasgow has been carrying out the process for 10 years, heating 17 homes.

'Not too disruptive'

Lee Carr, low carbon manager from Britain's Energy Coast, said: "Cumbria is one of the most extensively mined regions in the UK and it is a case of trying to harness energy beneath our feet.

"There will be some studies required, but it would not be too disruptive to the landscape to drill down into mines."

Mr Carr said warm water is pumped to the surface and then condensed to raise the temperature, so it can be used as an energy source.

He added: "The mines actually give access to the water in the rocks and the heat that's in the water.

"There shouldn't be much disruption to the landscape, it is quite a simple process and involves drilling down in the mine workings.

"In Glasgow, engineers needed to go down about 300 metres and the deeper down you get, the warmer the water is.

"After the heat has been extracted, the mines make it easier to get the water back into the ground."

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