Peter McConvey Associate Hydrogeologist from Tetra Tech Europe and Dr Robert Raine, Senior Energy Geologist from the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland (GSNI), reflect on a milestone moment for the GeoEnergy NI project.

Earlier this summer, the GeoEnergy NI team took to the fields of Antrim to complete exploratory geophysical surveys around the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE).

Working together with our experienced sub-contractor GeoPartner, we were on location for under two weeks and in that time, we successfully completed a wide range of gravity, magnetotelluric and seismic surveys to explore the potential for deep geothermal energy within County Antrim.  You may have even spotted the team hard at work, with the distinctive vibroseis truck which conducted the seismic reflection survey.

Working to a tight schedule, we are extremely grateful to local residents and landowners for their support, and to CAFRE for facilitating this survey activity. With your help, the survey activity went smoothly, and we are also thankful to Department for Infrastructure (DfI) Road Service for their traffic management support, ensuring minimal impact to the local community.

We had the pleasure of speaking to students at the college who were incredibly interested in the geothermal energy potential of the area and its use as a low carbon and renewable energy source. It’s great to see the next generation of agri-sector leaders so focused on how to reach net-zero goals.

As a team, we are thrilled to complete survey activity at CAFRE and reach this milestone as we move to the data processing and interpretation stage. The data collected will be used to develop a 3D geological model of the underground geology to a depth of approximately 2 kilometres, providing us with a valuable insight into the type of geology at depth around Co. Antrim.  This can then be used to assess the geothermal heat potential at the Greenmount Campus and provide information on the suitability for future low-carbon sustainable heat in the wider Antrim area, enabling the possibility of a geothermally powered district heating network.

Of course, this is only one part of the GeoEnergy NI project, and we will be investigating potential drill sites for a shallow geothermal system that can be used for the heating and cooling of buildings on the Stormont Estate, Belfast.  Be sure to follow GeoEnergy NI on social media and visit our project website to keep up to date on news as well as results from our recent survey activity.

GeoEnergy NI is being delivered by the Department for the Economy with scientific support from the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland (GSNI). It will explore the potential for sustainable geothermal energy right beneath our feet through geothermal demonstrator projects in two locations in Northern Ireland – one based at CAFRE’s site near Antrim and the other in the Stormont Estate in Belfast.