Abandon Mines Converted to Geothermal Energy Sources
Inhabitat.com: Recently the town of Heerlen in the Netherlands repurposed an old abandoned coal mine into a brilliant source of geothermal energy. The project takes advantage of flooded underground mine shafts, using their thermal energy to power a large-scale district heating system. Dubbed the Minewater Project, the new system recently went online and provides 350 homes and businesses in the town with hot water and heating in the winter and cool water in the summer.
District heating and cooling involves providing hot or cold water to a number of businesses or homes in an area in order to heat or cool the building. Sometimes the hot or cold water is used for an industrial process, but mostly the water flows through pipes to individual buildings and into radiators designed to transfer heat into a room. This is achieved through economies of scale by producing large amounts of water for individuals and operating much like an electric grid. The system now in place in The Netherlands in Heerlen makes use of an abandoned site, essentially a brownfield, and uses the naturally occurring geothermal heat to warm the water that has flooded the underground mines.