Defunct mine to keep providing underfloor heating for nearby homes
A 155-year-old German coal mine will continue to provide heat for residents even after it closes, with the help of modern underfloor heating technology.
Germany has recently announced that it will be closing its last black coal mine. The Prosper-Haniel mine in Bottrop, which is located in Germany’s Ruhr Valley, will close after more than a century and a half of continuous use.
However, despite the closure, the old mine will still play a role in keeping locals warm. For many years now, water from mines in the area has been used to heat local homes.
The water from the mine is naturally warm, which makes it ideal for being fed through underfloor heating systems in nearby homes. Locals can expect to continue to benefit from this extremely environmentally friendly source of heating for many decades to come.
The hydraulic engineer who is in charge of the project, Professor Andre Niemann, explained why this is the case in an interview with AFP. He said:
“If this system of ‘eternal tasks’ did not exist, 80 to 100 years from now, the water would rise and two-thirds of the Ruhr region would be flooded.”
New ways to use this and several other, disused mines to generate power are also being investigated. Potentially, some of the water that the mining companies are pumping out of these mines could be allowed to flow back through turbines. This would generate power in a way that would also be environmentally friendly and potentially more reliable than wind or solar power. However, it will take several years for engineers to work out how viable this approach would be.