We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Durham Energy Institute


Dr Charlotte Adams wins Geological society medal

(7 June 2018)

Aberconway Medal

Dr Charlotte Adams, DEI fellow, was yesterday awarded the prestigious Aberconway Medal by the Geological Society. This prestigious medal is awarded for excellence in applied geoscience and reflects Charlotte's ground breaking work in ultra-low enthalpy geothermal energy.

Heat can be extracted from the water flooded coal mines. The legacy of mines in the UK, their abundance and their distribution is such that most of the major population centres in the UK could have heat supplied from such mines allowing the UK to improve its energy security while simultaneously decarbonising heat. Translation of theory to practise is underway and Charlotte’s work in the area has made a significant contribution to this.

The award was presented at the Geological Society’s Presidents Day on 6th June.

A Geological Society spokesperson said:

“Charlotte Adams’ work bridges the gaps between academia, industry and society. Her recent career has seen her work in Earth Sciences, Engineering and Anthropology, while her earlier career was spent in the water remediation industry. This combination of interests and experience means that Charlotte is adept at crossing the barriers between industry, academia and society. She is a scientist with outstanding communication skills, and a worthy recipient of this year’s Aberconway medal.”

Professor Jon Gluyas, Director of Durham Energy Institute said:

"I am delighted to see Charlotte win the prestigious Aberconway Medal from the Geological Society. It is testament to Charlotte's skills in applying her geological and engineering knowledge of the Earth's subsurface and translating this into real world, economically attractive energy delivery projects. Her insight into the low carbon heat that could be won from abandoned and flooded coal mines could revolutionise the way the UK wins and distributes heat - this is 'big stuff', 50% of our national energy bill".

Professor Robert Holdsworth of Durham University Earth Sciences Department also received an award of the Coke Medal which is awarded to geoscientists for their contributions to science.

Dr Charlotte Adams is also the research manager for the BritGeothermal Research Partnership which is based in the Department of Earth Sciences as well as an Assistant Professor in the Geography Department at durham University.

Charlotte has both industrial and academic experience having joined industry on secondment to investigate the potential of abandoned mine workings for exploitation by ground source heat pumps and worked subsequently for several years in the renewable energy industry before joining Durham University in 2009. Her research interests include hydrogeology, hydrogeochemistry, geothermal energy and ground source heat and microgeneration.


Further Information

Geothermal Energy in the UK briefing written by Dr Adams

An example of Dr Adam's Abandoned Mines work in Spennymoor

Information on the different medals awarded by the Geological Society can be found here

The Aberconway Medal was established by a donation from ECC International Ltd and its chair Charles Melville McLaren (1913 - 2003), 3rd Baron Aberconway. The medal is one of the Geological Society’s newer medals – first awarded in 1980, and you can find previous recipients here