Work has begun to heat a section of Jubilee Pool in Penzance using geothermal energy.
The 1.4km deep geothermal well will enable visitors to enjoy bathing in waters of around 35°C in a section of the Grade II listed saltwater lido.
It will become the first facility of its kind in the country to be heated using geothermal energy and will lead the way in showing how geothermal technology can be utilised across the UK. The new heated section will open to the public in the summer of 2019.
The project is being undertaken by Geothermal Engineering (GEL) after securing funding from the European Regional Development Fund. GEL has secured a licence from Geon Energy, a joint venture company set up by Arup and GEL for some of the technology used in the project.
Geon Energy has developed the technology which enables the delivery of an efficient, renewable and sustainable heating supply. The process involves drilling a geothermal well to a depth of 1.4km and drawing up water that has been heated by the surrounding ground using a small pump. The heat is then transferred to water in adjacent pipes which flow into the pool.
GEL managing director Ryan Law said: “The use of geothermal energy significantly reduces emissions of greenhouse gases associated with the supply of heat and we hope that the learning and expertise gained from this ground-breaking project will be exported elsewhere, giving Cornwall the chance to be a leader in geothermal technology and installation.”
Arup director Matthew Free said: “We have been looking at many possibilities for generating geothermal heat and are pleased that the first operational project will be in Cornwall where we carried out a highly successful trial project two years ago.
“Not only will the well deliver heat cost effectively and with practically zero carbon emissions, it should prove an attractive idea for the local community and for visitors – why go to Iceland, Japan or New Zealand to experience water warmed from deep underground? The resulting economic benefits to Penzance should be significant.”
The pool was recenty undergone a two-year £3M restoration which involved stablisation work to safeguard the seafront structure following storm damage during the winter of 2014.
Geotechnical contractor Saxton Drilling worked with Cormac Solutions to anchor the base of the tidal pool to the underlying bedrock. Work was temporarily halted in December 2015 when it was discovered that some of the newly installed ground anchors had failed.
Last year the restoration of the pool, was voted the UK public’s favourite civil engineering project in the Institution of Civil Engineers’ (ICE) annual People’s Choice Award.
Since reopening in 2016 the pool has attracted over 100,000 visitors.