Modelling Geothermal Heat Extraction from Abandoned Mine Workings and Associated Ground Stability Issues

Quintessa are supporting an exciting new PhD research project at the University of Edinburgh, continuing our close cooperation with Chris McDermott. Fiona Todd (pictured) will be investigating the practicality of using flooded, abandoned mine workings as a geothermal heat source – potentially a key supply of low-carbon energy for those cities with a long-standing mining heritage.

The large area of typical mine workings and the elevated temperature at depth, make such underground voids a potentially very efficient means of accessing the heat being generated at depth in the Earth. Her focus will be on understanding the stability of the mined caverns, looking at the coupled Thermal-Hydraulic-Mechanical (THM) behaviour of the mine supports and the potential ground-surface impact. A key source of data will be from the Clyde Gateway (Glasgow), where a complex geometry of mines exist at a range of depths; Fiona will be working closely with the BGS and the Coal Authority to take full advantage of the available data.

In addition to CASE funding from Quintessa, Alex Bond will provide supervision support on sub-surface modelling and conceptualisation, and there will be an opportunity for Fiona to work in the Quintessa offices as part of her research work.

We wish Fiona the best of luck in her PhD research work, and we look forward to participating in the ongoing work to develop low-carbon energy resources through innovative uses of our collective industrial heritage.

Pillar and stall workings

Mines across the Scottish Central Coalfield

Images courtesy of the University of Edinburgh