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£31 million observatory project agreed for Thornton Science Park

Cheshire Science Corridor Cheshire West and Chester 2/11/2022 12:00:00 AM

Project will be delivered in full by 2024

The UK Geoenergy Observatories project will deliver a second underground observatory for the UK after it was granted planning permission on Wednesday 9 February.

The Cheshire Observatory in the University of Chester’s Thornton Science Park was approved by Cheshire West and Chester Council.

This means the £31 million project will be delivered in full by 2024. The Glasgow Observatory is already operational and providing open data for scientists and researchers.

Together, the Geoenergy Observatories will provide scientists with at- scale test facilities that can be used to optimise and de-risk a range of subsurface energy technologies. They will increase the UK’s research and innovation in low-carbon energy supply and storage

Subsurface energy storage

The Cheshire Observatory will comprise a network of 21 boreholes up to 100m deep. It will provide world-class research facilities for geoenergy storage scientists and innovators.

The boreholes will be equipped with a range of subsurface technologies including borehole heat exchangers for heating and cooling of the subsurface, advanced sensors for 3D imaging of subsurface processes in real-time, and equipment for multilevel groundwater monitoring and hydraulic control.

Data will be free and open to the public, public bodies, researchers and industry.

Construction will begin in summer 2022

Now that planning permission has been granted, construction is expected to start in summer 2022.

The project team has issued a tender for the principal contractor to build the Cheshire site.