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Geothermal project was not abandoned; VOICE OF NORTH.

"S always entertaining to learn about your own projects from someone else who knows nothing about them.

Ranting against geothermal energy, Mr A Weir (Voice of the North, March 8) claims that the last Weardale trial in 2006 was abandoned". As the person who ran that job, I correct him. Far from being abandoned itS a huge success, proving the largest geothermal resource ever yet found in the United Kingdom.

Furthermore, that success was built upon just year with the drilling of a second borehole further testing of the first one. That was a great success, as reported in The Journal the time (though Mr Weir clearly missed that), and private investment is now being lined for that site. s

Next, Mr Weir quotes a British Geological Survey report from 1988 in support of his claim deep geothermal energy is unviable. The survey has long recognised that the North East one of the most attractive locations for deep geothermal development in the UK, though at time they wrote there had been actual underground experiments in Cornwall, which are only just doing now up here.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. We've learned a lot more about the deep geosphere since 1988, as my colleagues at survey will happily confirm, and it is already possible to visit operating deep geothermal plants, in geological settings very similar to Newcastle, at Soultz-sous-Forets on Franco-German border and at Landau-in-der-Pfalz, Germany.

Mr Weir next attempts to ridicule our efforts describing a weird secondary school stunt which demonstrated the low thermal conductivity of rock. So what? Thermal conduction by minerals is of little importance compared to the thermal convection of groundwater moving through the pores of the rocks. That is what our work in Weardale and in Newcastle is targeting.

Fortunately, in both cases, when we sought support from the Department of Energy and Climate Change, our proposals were rigorously reviewed by experts in geology and engineering, rather than by people with a shaky grasp of out-of-date literature.

Prof PAUL YOUNGER FREng DL FICE FIChemE CEng FGS CGeol, Director, Newcastle Institute Research on Sustainability Newcastle
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Mar 10, 2011
Words:351
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