Gateshead Mine Water Energy Scheme

The Mine Water Heat Pump Scheme provides low-carbon heat to properties in Gateshead which are connected to the network

Desco designed the mechanical and electrical services for a mine water heat pump scheme, linked to the existing Gateshead District Energy Network to provide low-carbon heat to properties in the town, including Gateshead International Stadium, making it the largest mine water heat network in Great Britain.

Desco was appointed by Balfour Kilpatrick to work alongside Gateshead Council on this innovative project using water that gathers in the disused mines beneath Gateshead which is naturally heated by geothermal heat from the earth to provide heat to local properties. The naturally heated water is brought to the surface through bore holes tapped into the flooded mines and transferred to a heat pump which increases the water temperature from 15°C to 80°C. The water is then pumped back into the mine to reheat again, providing a sustainable heating cycle, and producing less CO2 than conventional gas heating. It is hoped that the scheme will save 1,300 tonnes of CO₂ per year over the first 15 years.

The energy centre offers peak power generation to help balance the grid through a mixture of battery storage and combined heat and power with heat storage. By installing the mine water heat pump, buildings already connected to the energy network will be supplied with cleaner heat. The project was awarded the Investors in the Environment award for ‘Best Carbon Reduction’ in 2022. The project was awarded a £5.9m grant from the Heat Networks Investment Project (HNIP), one of only four projects in the country to receive funding. The grant helped to install a 6MW water source heat pump to extract heat from the mine water 150m beneath the town centre.

The project is part of Gateshead Council’s plans to attract new businesses to the area, reduce emissions and cut energy bills, with plans to extend the network further. The council worked closely with the Coal Authority, who managed all the disused mine workings under Gateshead, to ensure the success of the project.

The heat network aims to become zero carbon by 2030 and already provides heat to the Baltic Arts Centre, Gateshead College, the new RIGA office building, and several other offices, and over 300 homes and can now provide cleaner heat to many more premises in the town.


Gateshead Mine Water Energy Scheme





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