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TownRock Energy

For renewable heat, look beneath your feet™

Artwork by Studio Echt

Founded in 2013 by David Townsend, TownRock Energy Limited (TRE) is an award-winning geothermal energy company based in Edinburgh, Scotland and is a leading specialist in all aspects of the UK’s geothermal resources. We specialise in the valuation, development and operation of net-zero heat projects using flooded coal mines, hot sedimentary aquifers (HSA’s), granites (Hot Dry Rocks), open and closed-loop ground-source heat pumps, district heating integration and thermal energy storage.

The Company’s mission is to access the abundant geothermal energy of the earth’s subsurface to provide zero-carbon renewable heating and cooling to industrial, commercial and domestic energy users.

We are a passionate, innovative and diverse company that strives to minimise the energy industry’s negative impact on the environment. We support all sustainable and safe methods of non-fossil low carbon energy generation to help mitigate the detrimental effects of climate change.

Geothermal energy technology is a relatively new path to unlocking clean energy in the UK and is often poorly appreciated or understood. Our dedicated team prides itself in taking a clear, strategic and scientific-based approach to assist clients and partners to understand and realise the value of the geological asset beneath their site.

TownRock Team

Facilitating Geothermal Energy from Scotland

Company Directors

David Townsend
Founder & CEO

Bringing a decade of geothermal energy leadership experience, working at the interface between the private, public and academic sectors, David brings extensive understanding of the technical, financial, political, and environmental aspects of the global geothermal energy sector. He has managed numerous geothermal and ground-source energy projects from pre-feasibility stage through to drilling and testing. He draws on his practical experience to help clients unlock the valuable geological assets beneath their sites, to eliminate waste and carbon emissions.

John Naismith
Engineering Director

John's experience includes open- and closed-loop ground and water heat pump systems, and deeper geothermal systems. This follows on from over 30 years’ experience in the oil and gas industry where he held senior technical, asset management, operations and project roles. This allows him to offer specialised advice on geothermal afterlife for oil and gas wells. His technical focus areas include reservoir engineering, thermal reservoir and well modelling, and integration of TownRock's subsurface work to above ground solutions.

Phil Townsend
Subsurface Director

After 30 years’ in the oil and gas industry Phil joined TownRock Energy in 2013 to bring his skills to geothermal heat exploration and development. His prior experience covers a broad spectrum from technical and leadership roles in frontier exploration geology around the globe; to North Sea asset management of fields at peak production and in development. He brings significant expertise in subsurface opportunity evaluation, describing and managing uncertainty and risk, drilling options, and project and venture management.

Claire MacLeod
Non-Executive Director

Following a long and varied career in corporate and energy law Claire was a co-founder and legal director for the innovative oil and gas energy services company ADIL for 10 years. She provides support and business experience to young entrepreneurial companies, in particular with corporate governance and contractual issues. She has been involved with TownRock Energy since the company's inception in 2013.

Technical Team

Morven Chisholm
Project Manager

After an established career working in membership management, Morven has recently brought her project management and strategic planning skills to TownRock Energy. She has extensive experience of working with academics, academic institutions, funders and business, using her communication and diplomacy skills to develop and maintain excellent collaborative working relationships. Her experience managing complex large-scale projects, involving large numbers of collaborators and stakeholders, allows her to support TownRock’s high profile projects and collaborations. When not working, she can usually be found running up a hill.

Barbora Hovorkova
Finance and HR Manager

Barbora is a qualified accountant with over 7 years of experience in operations and accounts management in various industries. She purposefully chooses to support and work with companies with strong missions and impact on people's lives. Barbora holds qualifications in financial accounting and project management; she's also pursuing a certificate in management accounting. Her favourite work tasks are management reporting, project admin and team support. When not at work, she is often seen with a barbell in her hands or taking long walks with her dog. 

Sally Jack
Geothermal Hydrogeologist

Sally is a passionate hydrogeologist who has spent the last four years before joining TownRock immersed in mine water geothermal research during her MSc and postgraduate research studies at the University of Strathclyde. Through the creation of a novel UK temperature database and extensive groundwater flow modelling, Sally has advanced her understanding of mine water geothermal systems. Sally’s main driver is to aid acceleration of the uptake of mine water geothermal to decarbonise heating in the UK and beyond. She is part of the mine water team at TownRock Energy.

Michael Schiltz
Geothermal Geologist

Michael has had a diverse geological background that has taken him to several places around the world.  Whether it was assisting palaeontologists in search of dinosaur bones in the Utah desert or studying at Europe’s premier carbon capture and storage facility in Spain, his enthusiasm for the earth sciences and renewable energy is palpable.  Michael is currently finishing a PhD at the University of Strathclyde researching fracture mediated fluid flow in heterogeneous rock types.  These experiences have primed him to be TownRock Energy’s lead structural geologist, helping the team characterise geothermal reservoir mechanics and improve overall well design.


Sam Smith
Geothermal Geologist

Sam is a geologist, graduating with a MSc in Natural Sciences in 2021, part of which involved a research project on the geothermal implications of deep magmatic processes in the Icelandic crust. For the first two years of his career, he worked at the Sellafield nuclear complex in West Cumbria, where he was involved in Contaminated Land management and hydrogeological interpretation of the site. Sam brings to TownRock experience of interpreting data from a large groundwater monitoring programme and delivering site works on a nuclear licensed site, and is now involved in the delivery of minewater and hot sedimentary aquifer (HSA) projects across the UK.

Leah Swan
Geothermal Engineer

Leah is a geothermal engineer, who has transitioned into the geothermal industry after obtaining over six years of invaluable geoscience and engineering experience within the oil and gas industry. Leah originally graduated with a first class honours degree in Earth Science, followed by a masters degree in Petroleum Geoscience. She discovered a passion for engineering while working in the oil and gas industry and has since developed her engineering skillset through on-the-job learning, training courses and part-time academic study. She now applies her geoscience and engineering expertise within TownRock across a broad range of services, predominantly delivering on the surface and subsurface engineering aspects of low-carbon geothermal heat projects.

Dr David Walls
Senior Geothermal Geologist

After obtaining a first class honours degree in Earth Science from University of Glasgow in 2017, David joined TownRock Energy as a geothermal geologist. Since then, David has undertaken a PhD researcher role at the University of Strathclyde, specialising in minewater geothermal energy in Scotland, whilst identifying and quantifying minewater resources across the country. Between his research and continued collaboration with TownRock Energy, David has gained rare experience in geothermal project planning and execution, resource characterisation, risk mitigation and maintenance.

Dr Sean Watson
Senior Engineering Geologist
Dr Sean Watson is a civil engineer who has researched deep geothermal energy projects across the UK and Europe since 2013. Sean is particularly experienced in investigating geothermal resources in hot sedimentary aquifer (HSA) settings. His PhD thesis investigated the geothermal resource in Upper Devonian aged sandstones beneath Glasgow and he has published research on topics such as UK HSA resource assessment, repurposing of legacy hydrocarbon wells for geothermal energy production, and anthropogenic and palaeoclimatic influences on the subsurface thermal state. Sean also has experience of mapping heat network opportunities, having worked as an energy analyst for the Scottish Government.

Company Associates

Richard Bates
Geophysics Associate

Richard is an applied geophysicist with a very extensive and wide array of projects in his portfolio. He specialises in the application of high resolution geophysical survey techniques for near surface investigations and the use of geophysics in a multi-disciplinary team approach to environmental problem solving. His main focus is in the field of near surface, high resolution terrestrial geophysics, which include, but are certainly not limited to, groundwater investigations, climate change impact and the evaluation of near surface bedrock and sediments for both closed and open loop ground source heat pump systems. He has a particular interest in the utilisation of geological structures for the storage of energy which he predicts will have an important role to play in the future renewable energy mix. The wide array of geophysical tools he is so familiar applying is invaluable to understanding the energy potential of shallow geothermal resources as well as the feasibility of geological storage sites.

Johnathan Bellarby
Geothermal Well Design Associate

Jonathan has over 25 years of technical experience with the emphasis on well and completion design – initially associated with oil and gas production. Jonathan also started up his own renewable energy company, focussing on groundloop heatpump consulting and installation – ICE Energy. The combination of oilfield and heatpump modelling and installation experience provides the technical background and insight into heat transfer and associated completion designs for geothermal and heatpump wells – both shallow and deep. Jonathan is passionate about promoting low carbon energy and also consults and teaches in activities such as deep geothermal wells for electricity power generation and carbon capture and storage well design.

Dr Steve Cuddy
Petrophysics Associate

Steve is a highly sought after petrophysicist who has had a long and prosperous career in the oil and gas industry. He has worked extensively for Schlumberger, BP and Baker Hughes and is also director of a small consultancy Petro-Innovations Ltd. Steve is an Artificial Intelligence Pioneer and is the inventor of the FOIL Function on how to use Fractals to understand the fluid distribution within hydrocarbon reservoirs. His areas of expertise include the quality control and repair of wireline and LWD electrical logs, saturation-height (FOIL) modelling, electro-facies modelling (Fuzzy Logic) and permeability prediction. He enjoys new and challenging geological energy projects and is excited to apply his knowledge and experience to the prospecting of deep aquifers for geothermal energy.

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