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Heat pump on the Clyde to provide district heating to the Gorbals

2.5 MW water source scheme, backed by Scotland’s new district heating fund, to be on line by September 2018

Large heat pump specialist Star Renewable Energy has been awarded funding to develop the UK’s first water source heat pump for medium temperature district heating serving existing buildings.

The 2.5MW water source heat pump on the River Clyde at the Gorbals will be deployed by September 2018 and will be Britain’s largest inner city 80 deg C heat pump, the firm said. 

The £3.5 million system will draw energy from the Clyde and boosts it up to 80 deg Celsius, to provide over 80% of the building heat demand. The district heating network is set to deliver immediate carbon reductions of 50%, with 2035 climate change goals of 80% achievable when the electrical grid carbon content falls far enough, the firm added.

The project has received a 50% loan from Scotland’s new District Heating Loan Fund, with the rest of the project funded with a grant from the Low Carbon Infrastructure Investment Fund (LCITP). It was announced by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at the All Energy conference this morning. The project will be operated by an ESCO, initially owned by Star Renewable Energy. The company said it is seeking to sell heat to nearby facilities at a price no higher than gas. Ownership is expected to be shifted to the public sector in 2028 as the project continues to accrue the Renewable Heat Incentive until 2038.

Dave Pearson, Director of Star Renewable Energy said, ““We are very pleased to have secured the support of the LCITP to bring a solution similar to [Norwegian district heating project] 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. This project sends a message to everyone that heat pumps work and deliver now what we need for 2035 – no need to take half step and change later.”

Mr Pearson added: ”It has been a long time since we proved in Drammen in Norway 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.”

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