Borehole

Science Central

Science Central siteScience Central is a 24-acre site in Newcastle city centre, on the site of the former Scottish and Newcastle brewery. The vision for Science Central is for the creation of a new urban quarter in the centre of Newcastle which will be an exemplar in sustainability, attracting leading edge scientific organisations to a mixed new community encompassing a variety of educational, business and residential uses.

The project will have huge potential to attract new businesses to the region and help support job creation and long term investment over the next 15-20 years. In employment terms, the development will look to support existing local businesses, spin out new companies, and work with international PLCs, with an important aim being to raise the number of people taking science and technology courses at all levels to equip them with new skills for the future. It will provide a specialist business support hub and state-of-the-art facilities for small start-up science companies as well as inward investors, along with complementary leisure and retail facilities – a ‘home zone’ accommodating approximately 350 new residential properties, built to high environmental standards, is also planned.

Backed by Newcastle City Council and Newcastle University, and forming part of the Newcastle Science City (NSC) Initiative, the development builds on the city’s existing scientific expertise seen in areas such as stem cell and regenerative medicine at the International Centre for Life, and in ageing and healthcare at Newcastle University’s Campus for Ageing and Vitality.

As one of the biggest urban regeneration projects in the UK, the Science Central development will become a focus for the city’s expertise in sustainability and digital technologies. To support this, Newcastle University are exploring the possibility of locating some of its sustainability, digital and urban research on to the site.

The Borehole Project

NIReS has obtained major funding from the Department for Energy and Climate Change, the British Geological Survey and Northumbrian Water to drill deep under the heart of Newcastle in search of geothermal energy.

The borehole is designed to explore strata associated with one of the UK’s largest geological fault zones – the so-called Ninety Fathom-Stublick Fault Zone – which shows signs of hosting hot groundwater.

Diagram of different strata expected to be encountered

If successful, this exploration borehole will take the risk out of detailed design to incorporate deep geothermal energy into the overall energy plan for Science Central and adjoining districts, including Eldon Square, the UK’s largest city centre indoor shopping mall.

Drilling Rig Drill bit

As the Ninety Fathom-Stublick Fault Zone extends laterally over distances in excess of 100km, quantification of the resource on this site would also provide a model for further such developments elsewhere in the North of England.

The first day of drilling on site The drilling rig in position

For the latest updates on the borehole, click here.

Borehole from below