24 June 2014

MAXIMIZING GEOEXCHANGE PERFORMANCE WITH ABANDONED MINES


The Town of Springhill, Nova Scotia has a rich history in energy production. For many years, Springhill was a major producer of coal in the region. Following a series of mining disasters, the third of which occurred in 1958, the coal mines were closed and Springhill’s energy legacy was relegated to the history books. However, in recent years, the Town has found a new source of energy that has the potential to once again make Springhill an energy hub of sorts. In 2004, the Town constructed a new recreational center that included an ice rink and activity
rooms. A geothermal heat pump system was installed using water from the flooded mines as an energy source. Since this water remains at a near-constant temperature of 18ºC all year, the COP and EER of their heat pump system is much higher than that typically experienced with closed-loop vertical borehole and horizontal loop systems, or open-loop systems. This
arrangement allows for a true thermal storage arrangement with huge potential. Springhill’s Town Engineer, a mining engineer by experience, completed a project to conduct
GIS mapping of the old mine workings, which shows all the galleries and locations of pillars. Now, instead of guessing where to drill, well drillers can accurately locate a suitable access point
for this energy source.