The thermal properties of rocks and soils are of great importance to the design of renewable energy systems including geothermal wells and underground energy storage systems. However, the UK has variable geology/lithologies and poor availability of published thermal properties data linked to Group, Formation, or litho-facies creates uncertainty.

The testing of 59 samples of Sherwood Sandstone Group sandstone (Liverpool, NW England) found the average intrinsic thermal conductivity (λ) is 3.2 W/mK, thermal diffusivity of 0.14 m2/day and estimated volumetric heat capacity 2.0 MJ/m3/K. From a technical feasibility perspective, the Sherwood Sandstone aquifer is a very good candidate for large-scale Open loop GSHP, free-cooling, and Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (ATES) technology deployment.

The measured average partially-saturated horizontal thermal conductivity of Mercia Mudstone Group argillaceous/mudstone facies (Newport, S Wales) is 1.9 W/mK, diffusivity is 0.09 m2/day, and estimated volumetric heat capacity of 1.9 MJ/m3/K, based on 29 samples. The MMG is a good candidate for Closed-loop GSHP and Borehole Thermal Energy Storage, but low permeability and yield, and soluble mineral content (gypsum) makes it a poor candidate for ATES. Where the MMG overlies the SSG it provides natural thermal insulation which will reduce ground-side heat losses and enhance whole-system efficiency.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Banks, D., Withers, J.G., Cashmore, G. and Dimelow, C.
    [2013] An overview of the results of 61 in situ thermal response tests in the UK. Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology, 46, 281–291
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Bloomer, J.R.
    [1981] Thermal conductivities of mudrocks in the United Kingdom. Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology, 14, 357–362.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Boon, D., Farr, G. J., Hough, E.
    [2021] Thermal properties of Mercia Mudstone (south Wales) and Sherwood Sandstone (Cheshire, Merseyside) with relevance to ground source heat and thermal energy storage systems in the UK. British Geological Survey Internal Report IR/21/01. (unpublished)
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Busby, J., Lewis, M., Reeves, H., Lawley, R.
    [2009] Initial geological considerations before installing ground source heat pump systems. Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology, 42, 295–306.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Downing, R.A. & Gray, D.A.
    [1986] Geothermal resources of the United Kingdom. Journal of the Geological Society, London, 143, 499–507
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Howard, A.S., Warrington, G., Ambrose, K. and Rees, J.G.
    [2008] A formational framework for the Mercia Mudstone Group (Triassic) of England and Wales. British Geological Survey Research Report (RR/08/04).
    [Google Scholar]
  7. MCS
    MCS [2017] Microgeneration Installation Standard: MIS 3005. Requirements for MCS contractors undertaking the supply, design, installation, set to work, commissioning and handover of microgeneration heat pump systems Issue 5.0. Department of Energy and Climate Change. https://mcscertified.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/MIS-3005.pdf
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Parkes, D., Busby, J.; Kemp, S. J.; Petitclerc, E.; Mounteney, I.
    [2021] The thermal properties of the Mercia Mudstone Group. Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology, 54(2).
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Rollin, K. E.
    [1987] Catalogue of geothermal data for the land area of the United Kingdom. Third revision: April 1987. Investigation of the Geothermal Potential of the UK, British Geological Survey.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error