An interactive mobile discovery centre designed to help visitors ‘unearth the heat beneath their feet’ has embarked on a geothermal energy information roadshow across the north.
The GeoEnergy Discovery Centre is a key part of the GeoEnergy NI project being delivered by the Department for the Economy (DfE), with scientific support from the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland (GSNI).
Designed to help schools, families, businesses, and community groups discover the power and potential of geothermal energy as a renewable energy source, the centre is packed full of educational resources, including interactive experiences such as virtual reality (VR) technologies.
The distinctive trailer is setting off on its first road trip in the coming days with stops planned at the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre (which is already heated by geothermal energy), Coleraine and Derry.
The centre will be open to the public and group bookings during this time, as well as visiting NI Science Festival events and local schools.
This is the first phase of the information roadshow and it will pop up at other locations around Northern Ireland throughout the year.
Launched last October, the GeoEnergy Discovery Centre has initially been based on the Stormont Estate in Belfast and is proving popular with schools, businesses and members of the public with over 1,500 visitors so far.
The Stormont Estate is one of the locations the GeoEnergy NI project is testing the potential for shallow geothermal energy, while deep geothermal potential is being tested at the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise’s Greenmount Campus near Antrim.
Ryan White, director of heat, buildings and climate change at the Department for the Economy, said: “This geothermal energy information roadshow is the first of its kind in the UK and showcases our commitment to unlocking Northern Ireland’s geothermal potential.
“Geothermal energy can play an important role in how we decarbonise our energy sector in pursuit of net zero carbon targets by 2050.
“The GeoEnergy Discovery Centre provides guests with an immersive, interactive educational and fun experience.
“As well as the VR technology, visitors can speak to the project’s geo ambassadors, take part in geothermal experiments and handle rocks from below the earth’s surface.
“We look forward to welcoming new guests to the centre on this first phase of our geothermal information roadshow which we believe will play an important role in enhancing the public’s awareness and understanding of geothermal as a reliable, low carbon, renewable energy resource.”
Free to visit, the GeoEnergy Discovery Centre (www.geoenergyni.org/geothermal-roadshow) will be open from 10am-4pm at the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre on Saturday February 17, Coleraine Town Centre on Thursday February 22 and the Foyle Arena in Derry on Saturday February 24.