19 November 2015
The Energy Technologies Institute has announced that AECOM will lead its Heat Infrastructure Development project.
The £500k project lasting approximately 12 months will seek to identify the innovative solutions needed to deliver major reductions in the capital cost of heat network infrastructure and accelerate its deployment.
It will examine the technical, process and system developments needed to deliver a step change reduction in the capital costs, along with cost estimates and time frames for undertaking these developments.
District heat networks supply heat to homes and businesses through pipes carrying hot water. They have great potential to deliver CO2 emissions reductions and cost benefits through the use of low carbon heat, waste heat from power stations, industry and other sources, combined heat and power, and large-scale heat pump deployment.
Heat networks are deployed in many regions of the world and are effective at delivering large quantities of heat, particularly to areas of high demand. Analysis by the ETI indicates that close to half of the UK’s existing heat demand could be connected to heat networks in an economical manner.
However, to date only around 2% of UK buildings are connected to district heat networks. The high initial capital investment and long timescales for installation have been identified as key barriers to the wider-scale deployment of district heat networks, and the Department of Energy & Climate Change heat strategy specifically identifies the need for infrastructure cost reduction.
ETI Project Manager, Energy Storage & Distribution, Nick Eraut, said:
“Heat accounts for more than 40% of the UK’s total energy demand and heating the UK’s buildings contributes roughly 20% of overall UK CO2 emissions.
Although developing heat networks could reduce these emissions, installing them in the UK is currently time consuming, labour intensive, disruptive and expensive.
This project will identify and assess innovative solutions to reduce the capital and total lifetime costs of heat network pipes and their installation.
Improved methods and technologies for heat network installation could help enable a transition to a flexible, cost-effective, long term heat supply.
The project outputs will be used to inform government and industry stakeholders about opportunities for heat network cost reduction to help steer investment in heat network developments.
AECOM, the global infrastructure services company, will lead the project supported by a project team including Cofely and Total Flow."
David Ross, Regional Director, Sustainability - Building Engineering, AECOM, said:
“We are seeing a drive to increase installation of district heating in the UK. It provides a significant opportunity to deliver cost-effective low carbon heat and help meet the country’s climate change mitigation goals. However, a key current barrier to wider adoption is its relatively high upfront costs. We look forward to working with the ETI to identify innovative solutions to deliver a substantive cost reduction.
We have brought together a strong team to deliver this project. This includes AECOM and Cofely who have significant knowledge and experience in the delivery, operation and viability of district heat networks, while Total Flow brings multi-industry expertise in managing the innovation process which will help the project team to identify improved solutions.”
The ETI has published a report “Decarbonising Heat for UK Homes,” which identifies two main potential pathways towards cutting carbon emissions from the 26 million homes needing low carbon installations by 2050 – local area schemes delivering low carbon heat through heat networks, along with individual home systems using electricity for heating.
View the report Decarbonising Heat for UK Homes here.
Watch a video explaining the announcement here.