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Cardiff study finds untapped heat source beneath streets

Credit: PA Images

Researchers say three year study in Cardiff has found there is a potentially untapped source of heat beneath cities across the UK.

They used 61 boreholes to test the temperature of the groundwater. They found, at around ten metres down, there is enough heat to be exploited by a heat pump.

Credit: British Geological Survey

We know the use of ground source heat pumps changes the ground temperature by several degrees Celsius. What we didn't know was by how much.

A study of the data collected between 2015 and 2018 indicates that the large heat resources stored in the UK’s underground water systems could sustain ‘shallow open loop ground source heat pump systems’, a widely used low-carbon heating approach in European cities, which are being used more frequently for heating the UK’s building stock.

Our findings prove that groundwater source heat pumps are a technically viable low-carbon heating solution in many towns and cities across the UK, providing that the geology beneath the surface is favourable.

– David Boon, British Geological Survey
Heat pumps are being increasing used as a low carbon solution. Credit: PA Images

If everyone in the world consumed natural resources and generated carbon dioxide at the rate we do in Cardiff, we would need three planets to support us and that is not sustainable.

The council has recently declared a climate emergency and the Urban Geo Observatory is one of the innovative projects helping us to explore potential alternative energy sources that will help us to decarbonise, making sure that Cardiff is an enterprising, prosperous, healthy, and green sustainable city in the future.

– Cllr Michael Michael, Cardiff Council