A GROUNDWATER engineering firm in Durham won’t be left out in the cold this winter, having expanded into state-of-the-art premises warmed by natural ground source heating and creating 13 new jobs.
Incorporated in 1989, OGI Groundwater Specialists Limited (OGI), based in Meadowfield, designs and constructs cost-effective groundwater management systems to make ground safe and stable for construction work beneath the water table.
The firm also provides geothermal heating systems, which work by pumping cool liquid into underground pipes where it is warmed by natural ground heat. This warmed liquid then returns to the surface where a pump extracts the heat into the building and returns cold liquid back down into the underground pipes.
OGI has secured a £100,000 Selective Finance for Investment grant from regional development agency One NorthEast towards the £625,300 project to expand into their new purpose built premises and create the new job positions.
The 13 new roles will include specialist engineering positions, project administrators, a software engineer and technical assistants.
Geothermal heating has a reduced impact on the environment and is more economical to run than most fossil fuel heating. It is particularly suitable for organisations that require heating for a substantial length of time, for instance 24-hour supermarkets, prisons, hospitals and care homes.
OGI can also reverse this heating process into a cooling system, and has provided geothermal cooling for the visitor centre and pavilion at Alnwick Gardens.
Suzanne Pickering, Business Manager at OGI, said: “Geothermal heating is used throughout Scandinavia but is quite a new concept in the UK. By using it on our own premises we are able to fully demonstrate the system and its workings to potential clients.
“The grant support has been a great boost for our business as it has allowed us to expand our capacity and create a number of new positions, some of which are extremely specialist within this field.”
Ian Williams, Director of Business and Industry at One NorthEast, said: “Energy efficiency is at the top of many agendas at the moment as the shortage of fossil fuels, together with government policy aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions, are placing oil and gas prices at an all time high.
“It is great to be able to support a firm like OGI, which is leading the way in producing reliable energy from environmentally friendly ground source heat pumps, whilst also creating a number of specialist jobs in the region.”