Fuelling Durham – past present and future Professor Jon Gluyas, Executive Director Durham Energy Institute
Lecture room ER 141, Elvet Riverside Durham University 2 April 2022 2pm-3pm
Coal was king. For more than 100 years the miners of Durham won coal for the nation and empire beyond. About half of one percent of the population of England and Wales produced around 15% of the country’s coal output. The menfolk and boys supported by their families drove the industrial revolution and attracted new workers from far and wide to produce not just coal but mineral wealth; lead, zinc, iron and a variety of minerals.
Durham remains rich in coal resources but deep mining has ceased and surface opencast has all but gone too. Initially uneconomic and now, rightly considered a fuel of the past given the copious emissions of greenhouse gases and particulate pollutants when coal is burned. Now, Durham like the UK as a whole is a net importer of energy – electricity, natural gas and oil with indigenous power generation from wind and sun occupying but a small portion of the overall county’s energy budget.
What does the future hold for a county committed to decarbonise within the next few decades? Can County Durham become energy self-sufficient and carbon neutral? Having achieved neutrality and self-sufficiency, might we even export skills and knowledge to help others meet their Climate Emergency goals. The talk will explore the possible energy futures to compare with the County’s energy past.
Jon is a geoscientist with 28 years in industry and 12 in academia following a degree in geology from Sheffield University and a PhD in geochemistry from Liverpool University. The first part of Jon’s career was in the petroleum industry, much of it being associated with improving our understanding of the subsurface and the relationship between the rock and fluids – water, oil and gas contained therein. Recognition of the impact of petroleum usage on the atmosphere and hydrosphere along with the realization that the Earth could deliver much more than fossil fuels and do it in a sustainable way led to a career change to academia.
Jon’s research covers geothermal energy, carbon capture and storage, human induced seismicity and the search for helium and gold hydrogen – key components of a low-carbon, sustainable future.
Jon is now the Executive Director of the Durham Energy Institute and he is currently president of the Geothermal Energy Advancement Association.