Product has been added to the basket

Decarbonising heat with geothermal energy

9 March 2022

Decarbonising heat with geothermal energy

The decarbonisation of heating and cooling, electricity production, industry and transport is essential to meet both UK and international climate change targets, and as part of the drive towards net zero carbon emissions. Geoscience has an important role to play in realising these goals.

In the last decade, the UK has successfully decarbonised half of its electricity demand by switching to renewable or low carbon sources (Ofgem, 2020). However, decarbonising heating in homes, offices, industry and public spaces remains a significant challenge. Gas and oil boilers are carbon-intensive forms of heating, and utilising widely available low-temperature heat from the ground instead could significantly lower the carbon footprint of the heating sector. Conservative estimates of the geothermal resources of the UK indicate there is around 200EJ, or the equivalent of delivering 100 years of supply based on the UK’s 2015 heat demand (Gluyas et al., 2018).

The UK Government Heat and Buildings Strategy (2021) recognises the value of utilising geothermal heat coupled with heat pumps and in district or network heating schemes in order to deliver low-carbon heating and cooling on a national scale. With commitments in place to improve the affordability of the entire geothermal heat system, and pledges to invest in research and innovation to improve adoption, heat from the Earth could help decarbonise our heat demand in a much more prominent way in the future.

References, resources and further reading

The role of geoscience in decarbonisation

Decarbonisation, or the reduction of carbon emission intensity across the industry, power generation, transport and heat sectors is essential for meeting both UK and international climate change targets. Our briefing note highlights the important role of geoscience in achieving this goal, whilst considering the barriers that need to be removed to unlock opportunities in this area.

The Role of Geoscience in Decarbonisation