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Energetic potential of pit water drainage tapped
22.10.2013

Heat from a mine

In the future, accumulating pit water will still need to be pumped out of former hard coal mines in the Ruhr area. This way, RAG ensures the ground’s stability and protects drinking water. The BINE Projektinfo brochure "Thermal heat from pit water" (13/2013) presents a pilot project at the Robert Müser mine in Bochum-Werne in which the heat energy of the pit water is decoupled and used for energetic purposes. Starting one year ago, it is being used to heat two schools, one swimming pool, a canteen and the main fire station of Bochum.

About 10 million m³ of pit water with a temperature of 20 °C is extracted in Bochum from a depth of 600 m. The extracted heat is transferred to a second water circuit in a cold local heating network and then supplied to individual buildings. Only there do heat pumps generate the required supply temperature for the buildings. The advantages of this method are the lower investment costs and heat losses during transport.

The experiences gained from this pilot project of the municipal utility of Bochum shall pave the way to unlock the untapped energy potential of water drainage. RAG Aktiengesellschaft estimate that a total of 100 million m³ of extracted pit water in the Ruhr area could be exploited energetically, providing a sufficient heat supply for up to 10,000 households. In other coal mining sites, pit water pumped up from even greater depths had a temperature of up to 50 °C.

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