How defunct coal mines could heat UK homes

MINING TECHNOLOGY | The UK closed its last colliery in 2015. While there are plans to open another, the UK Coal Authority currently oversees the collateral damage left by the industry. Practically, this means it manages several mine water treatment facilities.

In the coastal town of Seaham, near Newcastle, one treatment facility has plans to lead the way in an energy revolution. Here, water from the former Dawdon Colliery is treated for its high levels of salt. While this water would usually be managed with lagoons, local wildlife and transport links made an active chemical treatment plant necessary.

The extracted water is also warm, so much so that in 2011 the plant started pumping heat from the water for its own needs. Now, the UK government plans to build a new village a few miles away, and in February this year it approved plans to use the mine water to heat it.

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