Engineers are hoping to find themselves in hot water by drilling a mile below Newcastle city centre. Water pulled out of the ground at 80C could be used to heat an industrial park, nearby homes and a shopping centre. At 2,000 metres, the borehole will be the deepest drilled in a British city.
If successful, more boreholes could be made beneath other cities to tap into the Earth’s natural underground heat. Scientists say the North East is a geothermal hotspot with warm water relatively near the surface. And it will reinforce Newcastle as Britain’s most sustainable city, according to Prof Paul Younger, director of the city’s Institute for Research and Sustainability.
Last year his team pumped out water at 40C from a 1,000 metre borehole at Weardale, Co Durham, and pioneered a system which re-injects the water back down into the rocks.