Utility E.ON has started the installation of a hybrid heating system that combines a heat pump, recycled heat and its combined heating and power (CHP).
The £4 million project will see a heat pump installed at the company’s Citigen energy centre in London’s square mile. It will combine warmth from the earth with recycled waste heat from power generation, and store the energy within three boreholes that extend 200 metres below the capital.
It will add 4MW of extra heating capacity and a further 2.8MW of cooling capacity, and build on Cigiten’s existing CHP engines, which will power the heat pumps.
The heating and cooling will be provided to nearby buildings through a network of super-insulated pipes. It can also be saved for future use in Citigen’s thermal store or pumped down into the boreholes for longer term storage.
E.ON said the system will increase flexibility through its use of multiple heat sources, as well as making best use of space in a congested city and reducing dependence on fossil fuels, thereby cutting emissions.
Changing how we warm and cool our homes and workplaces is “a vital part of eradicating our contribution to climate change by 2050,” Energy Minister Lord Callanan said.
“E.ON’s project is a commercial vote of confidence in heat networks and heat pumps, meaning homes and businesses across the City of London will benefit from clean heat and is another great example of how the pace of rolling out cutting-edge low-carbon technologies is being accelerated across the UK.”
The new heat pump and borehole system is expected to cut emissions by up to 50%, as well as helping to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions.
Citigen is the hub of E.ON’s Central London district heating and cooling network. Hidden behind Listed Building facades in Clerkenwell, it powers 10 miles of underground pipes that provide heating, cooling and electricity to residential and commercial buildings.
Tacking the impact of heating in densely populated areas like the square mile will be key to reaching net zero by 2050, said Michael Lewis, E.ON UK chief executive, adding that “in taking the next step and installing heat pump and geothermal technology at Citigen we’re making a powerful statement of what can be done to reduce carbon usage on a large scale.
“The Citigen building itself has a long and storied history, and our £4m investment in a zero carbon heating and cooling system gives it an exciting new chapter and makes sure it’s fit to support the capital’s cleaner future."
E.ON signed a recent call from environmental consultancy Third Generation Environmentalism to establish a ‘Fair Heat Deal’ that would work to make clean heat pumps more attractive through changes to environmental levies and financial support.
Beyond its Citigen project, the company is working to rollout heat pumps in the domestic space, including securing £3.9 million to install the technology around Newcastle last year, as one of the winning schemes forming part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s ‘Electrification of Heat’ project.