Renewable energy district heating scheme in Clydebank officially opens

Published by Brian Coyle on

Renewable energy district heating scheme in Clydebank officially opens
Queen’s Quay Energy Centre

The UK’s first large-scale, high temperature water source heat pump has been officially opened at Queens Quay. The award-winning district heating system forms part of a £250M regeneration project in Clydebank which will deliver circa 5,705 tonnes of CO2 reduction per year due to grid decarbonisation.

The groundbreaking district heating system was commissioned by West Dunbartonshire Council in 2019, in conjunction with Star Renewable Energy (Star Refrigeration’s renewable heating business) and developers Vital Energi. The renewable energy system will provide affordable low carbon heating and hot water to around 1,200 homes and businesses across an entire district.

The Queen’s Quay district heating system uses pioneering heat pump technology to extract cold water from the River Clyde at a rate of 125 litres per second. Two large-scale industrial heat pumps use ammonia as a refrigerant to increase the temperature of the river water from 6-12°C, up to 80°C. Hot water is then supplied via a 2.5km pipe network to heat residential and commercial buildings across the 23-hectare development.

Star Refrigeration’s Group Sustainable Development Director, Dave Pearson said: “The Queen’s Quay project is the first large-scale deployment of this renewable energy technology in the UK. We are delighted to have had the opportunity to work alongside West Dunbartonshire Council and Vital Energi and are proud to be leading the way in delivering low carbon district heating.”

Renewable energy experts believe that utilising water for heating has a long list of benefits compared to burning fossil fuels. Engineers behind the project are confident that water source heat pump technology has the ability to transform the way the UK generates low carbon heat.

Dave Pearson adds: “There is extraordinary potential for water source heat pumps to be deployed across the UK by extracting heat from rivers, canals and coastline. With a ban on gas heating for new homes coming into effect in 2025, many building developers and local authorities are interested in exploring low carbon options. To encourage uptake, we need a joined-up and incentivised UK energy policy to ensure renewable energy schemes are economically supported.”

Inspired by the success of the Queen’s Quay project, many local authorities are now looking to invest in large scale district heating systems. Star Renewable Energy and Vital Energi are currently working with a number of clients to help them achieve their vision and develop further heat pump projects in the UK.

The Queen’s Quay district heating system was recently awarded a top accolade by the European Heat Pump Association (EHPA), receiving the ‘Heat Pump City of the Year’ title. Now in its eleventh year, the EHPA’s annual Heat Pump Awards recognise five of the most efficient, smart and sustainable heat pump projects across Europe.

Star Renewable Energy is committed to developing large-scale heat pump systems to offer effective, reliable and sustainable solutions that are both technically and financially viable.

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