Geothermal Observatories

British Geological Survey brings British geothermal energy a step closer

ERA partner, the British Geological Survey has created sub-surface observatories and scanning facilities to enable researchers to develop systems and technologies that can take advantage of the substantial renewable energy resources under our feet.

By improving our understanding of what happens underground, researchers can propose realistic and practical ways in which geoenergy can be part of the solution.

The British Geological Survey’s observatories are open to public and private sectors and academic organisations in the UK and abroad to carry out research to better characterise the subsurface energy environment, and develop new technologies design to extract or store energy.

Taking advantage of this resource will require the develop new sensors and innovative energy systems, and there are technical, social and regulatory challenges that must be explored in moving forward the commercialisation of geothermal energy.

The UK Geoenergy Observatories are currently operational in

• Glasgow

The network of 12 boreholes has been designed to observe how warm water moves around the abandoned mine workings over time and to monitor changes in the chemistry and to the physical and microbiological properties of the environment just below the surface.

• Cheshire

The Cheshire Observatory is equipped with a range of subsurface technologies including borehole heat exchangers for heating and cooling of the subsurface, advanced sensors for 3D imaging of subsurface processes in real time, and equipment for multilevel groundwater monitoring and hydraulic control.

• Cardiff

In Cardiff, BGS is improving its understanding of the way groundwater moves around in a complex geological environment changed by industrialisation and urban growth. The observatory is looking at shallow geothermal heat recovery and storage.

Supporting facilities

The UK Geoenergy Observatories also include a £1.4 million state-of-the-art core-scanning facility based at the British Geological Survey (BGS) in Keyworth, Nottinghamshire. The Core Scanning Facility (CSF) hosts four high-resolution core-scanners for core imaging and non-destructive core analysis.


For more information about the Geoenergy Observatories and the wider work of BGS, please Email: