Thu 14 May 20

Oakes Energy Services completes upgrade to County Durham water treatment plant to pave the way for innovative mine water heating projects

Oakes Energy Services, part of Pacifica Group, has completed an upgrade to the Coal Authority’s Dawdon Mine Water Treatment Scheme in County Durham, which will showcase the opportunity to heat homes using geothermal energy from abandoned mines.

Jason Oakes, Oakes Energy Services
Jason Oakes, Oakes Energy Services

Working in partnership with heat pump specialist Kensa, Oakes Energy Services has redesigned and upgraded the facility’s heat pump technology to demonstrate how the water can be extracted and utilised for home and commercial property heating systems.

This is one of the first developments of its kind in the country and the upgrade to the water treatment facility will showcase the heat pump technology’s capabilities to other locations in the UK. With one quarter of UK homes and businesses sited on former coalfields, mine water energy could be a crucial part of decarbonising Britain’s energy requirements.

The Dawdon Mine Water Treatment Scheme has also been earmarked to support the nearby planned Seaham Garden Village, which will benefit from mine water heating.

The garden village will consist of 750 affordable homes, 750 private homes, a school, shops and medical and innovation centres. It will be supplied with heat from the mine water treatment scheme located less than a quarter of a mile away, which treats water abstracted from an extensive network of flooded abandoned local coal mines.

Water in the mines is heated by geological processes and remains stable year-round. Utilising heat pump technology, the water is then transferred to a pipe network using a heat exchanger and distributed to nearby homes.

The water transferred by the heat pump transfers water is on average, at a temperature of 20 degrees Celsius.

Oakes Energy Services provides a range of energy efficient services to commercial and domestic applications, which includes designing and installing renewable energy systems to reduce energy consumption and bills.

It forms part of Pacifica Group, one of the UK’s leading home services firms, which is headquartered in the North East.

Jason Oakes, Business Development Director of Oakes Energy Services, said: We are very proud to be part of such an innovative renewable energy project in our home region.
Through our long-standing partnership with Kensa we have devised and installed a solution that will support the extraction and effective distribution of mine water to Seaham Garden Village. It demonstrates to other potential schemes across the country the viability of mine water as a heat resource and the capabilities of the technology to serve a substantial housing development.
Jeremy Crooks, Head of Innovation at the Coal Authority, said: Oaks Energy Services’ upgrade to the Mine Water Treatment Scheme is an essential first step towards this unique approach to harnessing mine water for heating. It will be of huge benefit to the local community, the environment and the economy while also providing a template for other schemes across the country.

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