World first zero carbon industry cluster to be created in the UK, Government funding granted to Gateshead council for the expansion of their heat network, and Vattenfall in new partnership to deliver district heating. Projects are lining up as May proves to be yet another busy month in the world of sustainable heating and cooling, see below for a summary of what has been going on.
Four new projects have been awarded funding at a total of £25 million by Triple Point Heat Networks Investment Management. Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead Council was one of them and has successfully received £5.9 million from their application to the Heat Network Investment Project on expanding geothermal based district heating. A 6MW mine water source heat pump is to be installed and extract heat from an abandoned mine underneath Gateshead town centre. The project also includes eastward expansion of the district heating network with 5.5 km of new heating pipes supplying up to 1250 additional homes with 12 gigawatts-hours of heat.
A consortium of eleven industrial and energy companies have entered an agreement to transform the Humber region into the world’s firs net zero carbon industry cluster by 2040, and initial funds has been secured from the UK Research and Innovation’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. The consortium aims at creating economic opportunities through clean growth and are identifying anchor projects within the region that can initiate the decarbonisation. The members of the consortium are Associated British Ports (ABP), Centrica Storage, Drax Group, Equinor, National Grid Ventures, Phillips 66 , px Group, SSE Thermal, Saltend Cogeneration Company Limited, VPI-Immingham and Uniper.
Vattenfall has come to an agreement with Argent Related, the developer of Brent Cross South, to deliver a 8MW district heating system in Barnet. The system is expected up and running 2023, and deliverer heat and hot water to 6700 newly developed homes and to new office, retail and commercial space of about half a million square meters. Heat pumps with a capacity of 8MW will supply more than 80% of the heat for the regeneration site, and in time Vattenfall aims to end all sources of carbon emissions related to the system.
Dalkia resumes the construction of a new generation biomass boiler which will be connected to the Rouen’s district heating network. Based on a new gasification technology developed by the company Dall Energy, the boiler will have a capacity of 14 MW connecting 19 000 household equivalents to Rouen’s local district heating network. The investment in biomass will further reduce the city’s dependency on coal to fuel its’ network.
Another project has been resumed, this time in the city of Bordeaux. Drilling projects taking advantage of favourable geothermal conditions have been initiated accessing 45 C° water at 900 m depth. The project is expected to be finished at the end of 2020.
Engie has revised its international strategy and plans to close offices in 25 countries before the end of 2021. The move is in line with a new global strategy consisting of simplifying the group’s business units worldwide. Engie has already started to shut down European offices in Sweden, Ukraine and in the Baltic states. The closing of offices is said to be finalized by the end of 2021.
Together with Avacon, municipal companies, the real estate industry, and research partners, E.ON has developed a new district heating and cooling system in Germany. The technology used in the new system is similar to electogrid that E.ON has developed in Sweden and can be operated at temperatures between 10 to 40 degrees Celsius, which enables integration of renewable heat sources such as waste heat and geothermal energy.
Heat Trust appoints David Watson as the new Director. Ms Bindi Patel, the previous Director, has been at Heat Trust since it was launched in 2015. During this time, she has overseen Heat Trust’s coverage expand to more than 10% of the market with 80 heat networks registered serving over 50,000 homes and micro-businesses. Heat Trust’s work has been recognised by the Government and has become a recognised industry standard. In May, Heat Trust also released its newest Annual Report.
Nottingham City Council has brought drone inspections to heat networks in what the council says is a UK-first, allowing its 90 km network to be surveyed in one-and-a-half nights and cutting back on loss of water. Nottingham City Council is part of the Innovation Gateway, which alongside the University of Birmingham, Tesco, Royal Bank of Scotland and Heathrow Airport are working to find sustainable solutions through innovations in energy, waste, water, productivity, and wellbeing. The council has an ambition to become the first carbon neutral city by 2028.
South Tyneside’s hybrid Viking Energy Network aims to use water pumped from 300 metres below the former Hebburn Colliery combined with heat pumps, solar generation and a CHP unit. The scheme will be sited on the Tyne near Jarrow. The project has attracted a £3.5 million investment from the European Regional Development fund, and is in total expected to amount to approximately £7 million. The Swedish company, Nordic Heat, was in 2019 appointed to deliver consultancy services on the project.
Specialist energy teams from Veolia have now extended the services they provide to United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT), one of the biggest acute hospital trusts in England. Among the planned improvements are a new combine heat and power plant and a conversion of the steam system to a low temperature hot water network.
Oakes Energy Services is supporting a major environmental project for Gentoo Group to replace gas boilers in seven tower blocks in Sunderland with ground source heating. Each ground source heat pump will be integrated into a micro communal district heating system connected to the aquifer under the tower blocks, which enables heat to be transferred from the ground to the buildings.
The SmartHubs smart local energy system (SLES) project, which secured backing from the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund in April last year, aims to show how power, heating, and transport technologies can work together to boost efficiency while slashing CO2 emissions and bills. Project partners confirmed that data modelling, systems design and detailed planning for the SmartHubs SLES project are all moving “at full speed” despite disruption and restrictions as a result of the coronavirus crisis, and that work on the trial is set to get underway proper once restrictions lift.
The Swedish Energy Agency has awarded a grant to the Swedish company Absolicon Solar Collector AB for what the latter says will be Europe’s largest solar thermal field for district heating with small concentrated parabolic troughs. The project in question will be realised at a site in the city of Harnosand at a total cost of about EUR 1.6 million.
In an “Early Market Engagement” notice, TfL said that it “seeks to inform the market of potential future opportunities to utilise waste heat from ventilation shafts which extract air from the London Underground deep tube network. TfL expects to publish a Market Sounding Questionnaire later in the year to invite feedback from the market to better understand the appetite for potential schemes among potential off-takers, as well as perceived risks and opportunities.”
The UK government should target a net zero power system by 2040, an acceleration of electrified transport and strategic investments in heat decarbonisation, SSE has recommended as part of a five-point action plan. SSE considers heat networks as a ‘no regret’ option for the government to commit to, alongside the signalling of the end for gas boilers.
In a response to the UK government’s “Heat networks: building a market framework consultation”, Ofgem delivers its views on Ofgem’s potential role as regulator for heat networks. Among the comments, Ofgem describes synergies with the ongoing regulation in Scotland and calls for alignment, particularly on consistent consumer outcomes.