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Posted by Ian Allan

Thursday 22th February, 2018

Futuristic district heating: Top five heat networks

Posted by Kirsty Lambert

District heating in the UK is starting to show its prowess as an answer to low carbon heat. Our latest blog looks at the top five heat networks and how they are bringing innovation to the sector and benefits to residents.

Thanks to Government backing and the proliferation of technology, district heating is gaining pace across the UK, with local authorities and private developers investing in the technology to provide low carbon and affordable heat to end-consumers. We’ve listed five local authority-led district heating schemes that are likely to revolutionise the market.

Newcastle - Gateshead

The Gateshead District Energy scheme supplies heat and power to domestic, public and commercial customers from 4MW gas-fired CHP engines via a new three kilometre heat and private wire network.

The scheme originated in 2010 from the Council’s ambition to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions for Gateshead Town Centre and will serve over 2,000 residents across Gateshead.

Cutting consumer costs

It is hoped that the energy improvements will result reduced resident energy costs and carbon emissions. The project is to be completed by the end of September 2018.

Leeds district heat network

Leeds City Council is working towards developing a flagship heat network that will use heat generated by processing waste at the Council’srecycling and energy recovery (RERF) operated by Veolia. The heat network is expected to span 6km across the city, serving around 2,000 residential homes located in the city centre.

Waste to heat

The RERF launched earlier last year, is designed to remove recyclable waste from black bins and recover energy from what is left over. It is expected to significantly reduce the amount of waste that is sent to landfill but also help Leeds become a zero waste city.

Manchester Civic Quarter

The scheme operated by Manchester City Council runs across 2km connecting several Council buildings including Manchester Town Hall & Extension, Manchester Central Convention Centre, Central Library, Manchester Art Gallery, The Bridgewater Hall and Heron House.  

Surplus heat to required heat

The proposed heat network, also known as ‘Corridor Manchester’ is proposed to receive its heat from heat producers, meaning that hospitals, universities or Council buildings will recycle any unrequired heat that they generate and feeding other buildings connected to the district heating system.

Glenrothes heat

Glenrothes heat is a project by Fife Council, to look at replacing gas and the use of electricity to provide hot water or heating for local businesses and/or homes in the centre of Glenrothes. The first phase of the project focuses on the area close to the biomass plant, looking at heating requirements of public buildings, commercial, industrial and domestic premises. With the intention to develop a network capable of being expanded in the future.

Biomass heat

The local RWE Markinch biomass CHP plant uses waste and sustainably sourced wood to generate steam, converting this to heat and hot water in the energy centre. The biomass plant uses 90% of food waste and 10% of sustainable wood from the Forestry Commission.

Lee Valley Heat Network

Launched by Enfield Council the Lee Valley Heat Network will provide combined heat and power to 30,000 homes and businesses across the Lee Valley area. The scheme was officially launched in November 2013 will take 12 years to complete and is estimated to cut the carbon footprint of homes connected to the network by 80 per cent, compared to households with conventional heating.

Combining heat and power

The district heat network ties together a series of heat networks that are in regeneration across the Borough of Enfield. These include, Meridian Water, Arnos Grove and Ponders End heat networks.

Have we missed a shining example?

Are there any shining examples of district heating schemes in the UK which you think should have been included? We’d love to hear about them - tell us which ones and why by commenting below.

Key takeaways

  • We waste enough heat to fulfil our entire heating demand
  • Recent Government reports are stating that district heating could be an answer to low carbon heat in high density areas
  • New and innovative ways of transferring waste heat are being trialled and adapted in cities across the UK

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Kirsty Lambert

Business Development Director at Switch2

A skilled director and leader with both operational and commercial experience, Kirsty has over 10 years’ experience in the community and district heating industry.

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