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Large scale water management system

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Seaham Garden Village

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Seaham Garden Village features a pioneering, mine water sourced district heating scheme designed to create a better future for residents and the environment in a historic mining area.

This renewable energy source has a practically zero carbon footprint, and with one quarter of UK properties sitting on the coalfields, abandoned mines have great potential to help us meet net zero carbon by 2050.

We acted as Technical Utility Infrastructure Advisor for the developer Tolent Living to develop this low carbon, sustainable heat source for potentially the UK’s first large scale minewater district heating scheme.

Project name

Seaham Garden Village

Client

Tolent Living

 

Location

Seaham, County Durham

Services provided

- Site Utility Infrastructure Planning

Repurposing mine water into a renewable energy source

Built immediately adjacent to the Coal Authority’s Dawdon Mine Water Treatment Plant, this scheme protects a vital drinking water aquifer by abstracting 100 to 150 litres per second of saline mine water up to the surface for treatment. At present this resource is simply discharged into the sea.

Seaham Garden Village will be supplied with heat from the mine water treatment scheme, which has been warmed via geothermal processes to provide a year round continuous water supply at 18–20°C.

This renewable energy source has potential to have a practically zero-carbon footprint, and as an energy source unaffected by external factors, it will maintain a stable price and is viable enough to compete against gas suppliers.

The site will provide 1,500 homes, a primary school, shops, health and wellbeing hub and an innovation centre.

Durham County Council (DCC) aim to reduce carbon emissions by 60% by 2030 and reach neutrality by 2050; Seaham Garden Village is an exemplar project in delivering DCC’s stated objective.

Mine water sourced heat pump for low carbon sustainable energy

Solution

Leading the infrastructure design and coordination, a large portion of our work has been related to the mine water heat pump proposal, its low temperature nature and its integration with the 1,500-housing stock.

From carrying out assessments including a Non-Domestic Plant Space Assessment, load assessment and innovation research, we were able to offer a raft of advice to our client and their house building partners. We demonstrated exactly how embracing this new technology would affect them in terms of changing their ways, working practices and cost estimating.

In our review of the Mine Water Energy Utilisation Feasibility, we critiqued a number of fundamental design assumptions and made recommended changes based on viability. These changes were incorporated by the Coal Authority team, including updating proposals produced prior to HNIP funding application and full stakeholder engagement.

With the individual development cells being let to separate house builders, we have aided this process by explaining in layman’s terms the technicalities and opportunities that the scheme will bring.  Rather than harboring scepticism about the change, we have found that those concerned have adopted this as an opportunity rather than a threat.

In addition, we have acted on Tolent Living's behalf in negotiations with National Power Grid in order to bring a phased 20kV power network to the greenfield site.  

 

1,500

homes

6

Megawatts of potential low carbon energy from water in the mines

20 kV

new high voltage network

5 G

Integrated