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29 May 2017

UK’s First Ever Water Source Heat Pump for District Heating Unveiled

District heating schemes are becoming ever more prevalent in recent times, touted as a leading method of reducing the carbon footprint of communities throughout the country and beyond. It is undoubtedly an important task, even if the execution of some schemes has reportedly left a little to be desired.

The latest step in getting more of the UK to make the switch from individual heating systems to district heating schemes was unveiled last week at the EuroHeat & Power Congress. There it was revealed that Glasgow will become the next recipient of such a scheme, as Star Renewable Energy have been awarded a contract to develop the UK’s first ever water source heat pump designed to power a medium temperature district heating service for existing buildings in the area.

The 2.5MW heat pump system will be installed on the River Clyde in Glasgow, providing power to the Gorbals area on the south side of the river from September 2018 onwards. The pump, which comes in at a cost of £3.5 million, will draw energy from the river in order to cover up to 80% of the local area’s building heat demand.

The project has loaned 50% of its funding from the District Heating Loan Fund, with the rest coming in the form of a hefty grant given by the Low Carbon Infrastructure Investment Fund (LCITP). The scheme will be operated by Star Renewable Energy before being shifted to the public sector in 2028. During that time, the company has pledged to provide heating to local buildings at a cost no higher than that of gas.

Dave Pearson, Director of Star Renewable Energy said, “It has been a long time since we proved in Drammen that heat can be delivered at high temperatures from sources such as rivers without using HFCs. It is frustrating that even with the support of the RHI, businesses have opted for burning gas in novel ways even when it is abundantly clear that the carbon footprint and exhaust emissions of gas CHP are not compatible with a low carbon society.

“This is in part due to a lack of knowledge and in part economic, as gas is cheap. Now businesses can have cheap heat that is lower carbon as well and without NOx emissions. Our message is ‘Don’t be scared of renewable heat’. It creates jobs and supports the environmental goals without costing the Earth.

“We are very pleased to have secured the support of the LCITP to bring a solution similar to Drammen back home and hope to be able to offer heat at as low a price as can be achieved with gas boilers – but with less than half the CO2 and no NOx or PM10 particulate emissions in the city.

“We will work to finalise our offering over the next few months and expect to be delivering low carbon, clean and affordable heat in line with 2035 goals in Q3 2018.”

The announcement of the scheme has been praised by organisation such as the WWF, with Acting Director of WWF Scotland Dr Sam Gardner commenting, “Cutting our reliance on fossil fuels for heating our homes and buildings is the critical next stage in the journey to a zero carbon Scotland.  This exciting new project by Star Renewable Energy will apply tried and tested technology to draw heat from the Clyde that can then be used in sport centres, homes and offices.

“It is fantastic to think that having played host to the industrial revolution the Clyde can now be the source of renewable heat, helping to stimulate Scotland’s part in the global low carbon industrial revolution. The challenge now for Scotland is to build on this success as quickly as possible and move from projects to strategic deployment.

“With Scotland having no shortage of rivers or coastline near our towns and cities this technology could play an important role in not just tackling climate change but supporting job creation and investment across the country.”

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.