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Carbon Neutral County Durham:
A Review of County Durham’s Low Carbon Sustainable Resource Base in Order to Become Carbon Neutral by 2050

MAWSON, ROBERT,JAMES (2020) Carbon Neutral County Durham:
A Review of County Durham’s Low Carbon Sustainable Resource Base in Order to Become Carbon Neutral by 2050.
Masters thesis, Durham University.

PDF - Accepted Version


In February 2019, Durham County Council declared a climate emergency in recognition that without action, global warming will continue on its current trajectory of 3C warming, causing disastrous effects. The target was agreed that County Durham would become carbon neutral by the year 2050. Aside from energy saving, carbon removal, and offset measures, this project details the technical potential low carbon, sustainable resource base that County Durham has in order to meet the county’s current energy demand of ~10,500 GWh/yr. This resource base includes; mine water, deep geothermal, photovoltaics, solar thermal, wind, biomass, waste, hydrogen, hydropower, and tidal energy. Analysis of these resources covers how the resource works, what the resource depends upon, the energy potential in County Durham, possible limitations, land use, economics, and the learnings taken from relevant case studies.
This study found that County Durham has an uneven low carbon sustainable energy mix, which favours the production of electricity and heat rather than alternative transport fuels. To decarbonise the heating sector, County Durham has a large mine water energy resource that has the potential to heat up to the equivalent of 91% of the homes in the county. If County Durham initially invested in mine water energy with other resources such as domestic solar thermal systems and heat pumps, this would allow time for the current gas networks to be repurposed for a hybrid hydrogen network. This hybrid network would remove mine water’s limitation of proximity to the source. Due to land constraints, there is no realistic alternative to transport fuels available from low carbon resources in County Durham whilst hydrogen, remains within its infancy as a major transport fuel energy source. Transport is therefore likely to require electrification which matches the UK’s current plans. To produce enough electricity to decarbonise the electricity and transport sector, a mixture of offshore/onshore wind energy, photovoltaics, domestic energy projects, and a biorefinery would be required. The proportion of this mixture depends upon if land and/or economic investment is prioritised.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Science
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Science > Earth Sciences, Department of
Thesis Date:2020
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:16 Dec 2020 08:38

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