And as South Tyneside Council pushes ahead with plans for an innovative project to heat homes using water buried in old mineshafts – an idea Prof Younger first championed three decades ago – calls are growing for his contribution to be recognised.
“The [energy centre] will have to have a name and I have said consistently it should be named after someone from the Hebburn area who was eminent in their profession,” said Hebburn councillor John McCabe.
“[One candidate] is Professor Paul Younger and I couldn’t think of a finer name for that building.”
Cllr McCabe, a friend of the late professor, was speaking at a meeting of South Tyneside Council’s Hebburn Community Area Forum (CAF), which was held by videolink and broadcast via YouTube.
The Hebburn Minewater Project, which now has a dedicated page on the council’s website to post updates on its progress, will use a pair of boreholes up to 400m deep to collect water from disused flooded mines for heating.
The EU’s European Regional Development Fund has stumped up £3.85 million to fund half the cost of the scheme, with the rest of the cash provided by the borough council.
Phil Dixon, the council’s strategic business manager, said: “[The scheme] will pump water to ground level and to an energy centre, which will be located near Durham Court, on the land of the former roadhouse pub.
“From there it will be converted to usable heat and distributed to three local authority buildings in the Hebburn area – the 111 flats in Durham Court, Lincoln Court and Hebburn Centre.”
The project is expected to be up and running by mid-2023, although Dixon added it was ‘not at that stage’ where names for its parts were being formally considered.