The British Geological Survey is to go ahead with a UK Geoenergy Observatory. The facility which is expected to help inform Britain’s decisions on future energy will be located at Ince Marshes in Cheshire and will be a first in its ability to observe the underground environment.
The study will involve:
- Drilling 50 boreholes from between 50 and 1200m deep
- They will contain a network of 1800 seismic sensors and 5km of fibre-optic cable with ability to measure earth tremors
- The boreholes will enable thousands of water samples to be taken over a 15 year period
- The drilling will generate 3000m of rock core which will enable further research through laboratory analysis.
Prof Shipton believes, “The UK Geoenergy Observatories will enable scientists to answer a range of geoscience questions relating to techniques such as storing carbon, utilising rocks as a battery store for solar, wind and tidal energy, geothermal energy and shale gas”. The project will enable scientists to gain a clear understanding of the underground environment.
Two separate Geoenergy Observatories will also be sited in Scotland and Wales. In Glasgow 12 boreholes will measure how warm water moved around abandoned mine workings whilst the project in Cardiff will test the temperature of the water in water-bearing rock.