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How to create instant geothermal energy: Take one abandoned mine, flood it with water, wait for the surrounding rock of the mine to heat the water, and enjoy.
The idea of using abandoned mines to extract geothermal energy is already used in some communities in Europe and Canada, but it is not very widespread.
A new study by scientists at the McGill University in Canada has focussed on this method and estimates that geothermal energy from abandoned mines could help provide enough energy for about a million Canadians.
As well as providing a new form of cheap, renewable energy for the local communities, this method will relieve the burden of having to tend to abandoned mines, necessary to avoid coal mines catching fire. One example of a burning coal mine is that in Centralia, Pennsylvania, which has been burning for decades, forcing local residents out of their homes.
Seyed Ali Ghoreishi Madiseh, the head researcher at McGill, “Abandoned mines demand costly perpetual monitoring and remediating. Geothermal use of the mine will offset these costs and help the mining industry to become more sustainable.”
The McGill study has concentrated on shaft mines, but another similar study at Purdue University in Indiana also looked at the geothermal potential of strip mines. In Indiana coal mines account for about 186,000 acres underground and 284,000 acres on the surface.
Parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia also offer potential for geothermal coal mines.
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com