Using Old Coal Mines As Cheap Sources Of Geothermal Heat

For as much old coal mines are a blight upon the face of the Earth, they may have at least one potential positive side-effect. Where the coal mine consists out of tunnels that were drilled deep into the soil, these tend to get flooded by groundwater after the pumps that keep them dry are turned off. Depending on the surrounding rock, this water tends to get not only contaminated, but also warmed up. As the BBC explains in a recent video as a follow-up to a 2021 article, when the water is pumped up for decontamination, it can be run through a heat exchanger in order to provide heat for homes and businesses. Continue reading “Using Old Coal Mines As Cheap Sources Of Geothermal Heat”

The Akademik Lomonosov floating nuclear power plant, moored at Pevek, Russia. It provides power and heat to the isolated community.

Cogeneration And District Heating For Comfortable Homes And Happy Factories

Most of modern society’s energy usage is spent on heating in some form, whether it is to heat water, raise the temperature in a room, or for use in industrial processes. This makes it an excellent target for improvements in efficiency and resilience, as well as in the effort to decarbonize the world’s energy production. Here district heating and similar solutions are likely to play a major role in the near future.

Over the past decades, a number of nations have either already built out extensive district heating grids, or are in the process of doing so. The main advantage of these heating grids is that they not only allow for more efficient, centralized generating of heat, but also allow for e.g. industrial waste heat to be used productively rather than wasted, even if most of the heat will come from either dedicated or cogeneration thermal plants.

Recently, district heating has received a big push in e.g. China in the form of nuclear cogeneration, while the potential of using thermal storage to buffer heat for later use along with the concept of tying data centers into heating grids are also being explored. Although district heating is hardly new, it may help to ease humanity into a low-carbon future, without losing a bit of comfort.

Continue reading “Cogeneration And District Heating For Comfortable Homes And Happy Factories”