England

Borehole to be drilled below Newcastle

Scientists have been awarded £40,000 to drill deep below Newcastle as part of a renewable energy project.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change funding will go to a £1m scheme for a 2,000m geothermal borehole below Science Central, in the city centre.

It is hoped the Newcastle and Durham universities project will bring up hot water at a temperature of 80C (176F).

The hope is that the water could be used to heat the site and surrounding buildings.

Professor Paul Younger, director of the Newcastle Institute for Research on Sustainability, said: "We know that Newcastle is built on a bed of granite and, depending on the mix of rock at this depth, we are optimistic of reaching temperatures not far short of boiling point.

"This would provide a fully renewable energy supply, massively reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and reinforcing Newcastle's position as the UK's most sustainable city which we have won two years running."

Drilling is expected to start in the new year and will last for six months.

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