New net zero work explores geothermal heat on campus

Last updated on 29 January 2024

The Estates team start work today (29 January) to explore whether there is geothermal energy underground on campus that could be used to heat buildings.

Bringing together experts from the Facilities Directorate and the academic community, the project is part of the University’s Net Zero Delivery Plan.

Eight test boreholes will be drilled on campus looking for underground water at a temperature that could be used to heat part of the estate.

Ann Allen, Director of Campus Innovation & Development said:

“As part of our Climate Plan, it is critical that we reduce emissions created by heating the campus.

“This truly collaborative work explores not only a solution for that reduction, but also offers a real-life research opportunity to our staff and students as a Living Lab. We’ll share our learnings with our partners in the wider city too.

“We’re sorry that the work will cause some disruption on campus and we’re doing everything we can to mitigate that.”

What does the work involve?

Specialists ANTS Drilling will drill eight boreholes which will reach between 150 and 250 metres into the ground below campus. Some of these holes will be water wells, looking for underground water at the right temperature to use for geothermal heat. These are around 50cm in diameter. Some of the holes will be monitoring wells and are around 15cm in diameter.

Once the test boreholes are completed they will be capped at ground level.

Find out more about geothermal drilling on the Sustainability website.

Check locations and potential disruption on the Estates website.

As the work progresses there will be opportunities to find out more about progress and the research on the events page on the Sustainability website.