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Abandoned coal mines may be gold mines for geothermal energy

Diana Olick of CNBC reports on the geothermal potential of abandoned coal mines.

The C3 Take
  • Once they are abandoned, coal mines fill with water that contains heat from below the earth’s surface which can be used to heat and cool homes.
  • The UK recently launched a pilot project that would use geothermal power at abandoned mine sites to heat over 1,200 homes.
  • A 2007 report from the Department of Energy estimates that in Pittsburgh alone the amount of water being discharged from underground coal mines could heat and cool 20,000 homes.
  • With much of the focus being on bringing wind and solar to these abandoned mines, regulators and developers should also explore ways to expand geothermal use at these sites.

“Geothermal energy from coal mines can be used not only to heat homes and buildings, but also to cool them. That opens up many more opportunities, especially for data centers. They are some of the worst carbon offenders, using vast amounts of energy and requiring thousands of gallons of water to cool themselves. Now, researchers in Scotland are studying how hot air from data centers can be pumped into coal mines and then recovered from the water to heat other buildings.”

Read the full article here.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of C3.

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