The UK Geoenergy Observatory in Glasgow has released data and images from below the Scottish city’s surface as part of research into alternative renewable energy resources.

The data from 12 boreholes, some drilled to depths of nearly 200 metres, will help scientists understand the subsurface better and shed light on how mine water heat could be used as a renewable energy source for homes and industry.

The network of boreholes, which are fitted with sensors, is observing how warm water moves in abandoned, flooded mine workings beneath the east end of the city and Rutherglen.

Over the next 15 years, the boreholes will allow scientists to monitor changes in the chemistry and to the physical and microbiological properties of the environment below the surface.

The new data includes drilling logs, hydrogeological test data and optical images taken underground. The data is open for scientists to use, and the Observatory team hope that researchers from around the world will get in touch to use the boreholes.

Alison Monaghan, science lead for the UK Geoenergy Observatory, Glasgow, said: “The Glasgow Observatory’s boreholes are giving us an unprecedented look into the subsurface.

“Data from underneath Glasgow can now be used by scientists around the world to close the knowledge gaps we have on mine water heat energy and heat storage.

“Mine water heat is one form of geothermal energy, and it has huge potential to help the UK decarbonise its heat supply and meet net zero targets.

“There are many cities and towns in the UK that are sitting on top of old mine workings, particularly in central Scotland, northern England and south Wales.

“While this data is from Glasgow, it will help researchers around the world better understand the subsurface.

The UK Geoenergy Observatories are a £31m investment by the UK government through UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

The Glasgow Observatory is one of two new facilities to be built as part of the project.

Construction will soon begin on a second observatory in Cheshire, which covers a range of geoenergy technologies including shallow geothermal and heat storage.

An existing urban geo-observatory in Cardiff provides data on shallow geothermal heat recovery and storage.

Monaghan added: “Our next data releases will include hydrogeological pump test results, groundwater chemistry and infrastructure available at each borehole site.”