UK government awards £80m in funding for greener heat projects

Article by Amanda Jasi

A PROJECT to heat homes with sewer water and the UK’s largest high-temperature water source heat pump are among the four winners of a share of around £80m (US$101.7m) from the UK government’s Green Heat Network Fund.

The fund supports commercialisation and construction of new low and zero carbon heat networks and projects to retrofit and expand existing heat networks.

The four projects were announced alongside 34 inefficient heat networks that will be improved thanks to a share of £8m via the Heat Network Efficiency Scheme.

The Green Heat Network Fund winners include a Bolton-based project that will warm nearly 2,000 homes and businesses using waste heat from the town’s sewer. It will extract energy from both sewage and waste hot water from washing machines, bathrooms, and kitchens to fuel a heat pump. Forming part of Bolton’s first district heating network, it is expected to help keep bills low.

The Exeter Energy Network is receiving £42.5m to build a heat network using air source heat pumps – which transfer heat from atmospheric air to supply warmth and hot water – as well as the UK’s largest high-temperature water source heat pump. Buildings connected to the network are expected to see an initial reduction of 65–75% in carbon emissions compared to gas heating.

In Hull, the Hull East District Network will use their £22m award for a project sourcing excess heat from a chemical park to provide low carbon heat to 14 public sector council buildings and industrial businesses.

The final winning project is based in London where Greenwich Peninsula ESCO District Heating Network will use its awarded £4.6m to connect low-carbon heating to more than 9,000 existing and new homes, as well as 94,000 m2 of commercial space. The project’s cleaner energy will be supplied by an air source heat pump.

Meanwhile, £8m from the UK’s Heat Network Efficiency Scheme will support vital projects in England and Wales that will upgrade inefficient or old equipment to offer more reliable service and improve heating. The work carried out with the funding is expected to benefit more than 9,000 residents, hospital patients, students, and public sector workers.

Lord Callanan, minister for energy efficiency and green finance, said: “These innovative projects will help drive down energy costs, while also demonstrating why the UK has led the way in cutting carbon emissions.

“They show how energy sources can be found in the most unexpected places – as more homes and businesses will benefit from cleaner heating and lower energy bills.

“Our upgrades will also make sure our existing heat networks are upgraded – so customers can get the reliable heating supply they deserve.”

Sarah Honan, head of policy at the trade body Association for Decentralised Energy, said: “Today’s announcement takes us an important step closer to heat networks’ ultimate role in decarbonising the bulk of heat across the UK’s cities, towns and buildings…Heat networks are a key solution in the mix of technologies that will make up the energy system of the future – not only will they be essential in decarbonising our homes and offices, factories and shops, but without them, the UK will not be able to build the truly resilient and flexible grid needed for the future.”

Heating in the UK currently accounts for 30% of UK emissions.

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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