Low temperature heat recovery, cooling and storage schemes, using abandoned flooded mine workings are a viable option for low carbon heating solutions within many abandoned British coalfields. The temperature of mine water is a useful parameter, coupled with depth to water, sustainable yield and recharge potential, to identify suitable locations and calculate the likely performance of heat recovery schemes. This paper aims to provide the first mapping and synthesis of the temperature of Britain's coalfields to support this emerging technology. Using the best available evidence, a median geothermal gradient of 24.1 °C/km was calculated for the British coalfields. However, geothermal gradients between separate coalfields can vary from 17.3 to 34.3 °C/km. The North East, Cumbria and Yorkshire coalfields all have mean geothermal gradients generally >30 °C/km, whilst geothermal gradients of generally <23 °C/km are measured in the Warwickshire, South Wales, Staffordshire, Douglas and Fife coalfields. Active dewatering schemes are shown to locally increase the apparent measured geothermal gradient by ingress and mixing of deeper water into the pumping shafts. This baseline spatial mapping and synthesis of coalfield temperatures offers significant benefit to those planning, designing and regulating heat recovery and storage in Britain's abandoned coalfields.
Scientific editing by Jonathan Smith; David Birks