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'Exciting milestone' passed for clean heat project combining river source heat pump, solar and storage

An aerial view of the site. Image: South Tyneside Council.

An aerial view of the site. Image: South Tyneside Council.

A project bringing together a river source heat pump, solar, storage and combined heat and power (CHP) has taken a step forward.

Colloide Engineering Systems has been awarded a construction contract for the Viking Energy Network by South Tyneside Council following a competitive tender process.

A river source heat pump is to be used to harness low-grade heat from the River Tyne, with the heat to then be exported to 11 council-owned buildings in Jarrow, including high-rise flats, schools and sheltered housing.

The project will also see a 1MW solar farm, private wire electrical network, storage battery and a combined heat and power (CHP) back-up system installed.

It is intended that the solar will power the heat pump, which will run close to carbon neutral for “much of the summer”. Any surplus electricity is to help power council buildings.

An energy centre serving the network is also to be built on an existing council-owned brownfield site on the south bank of the River Tyne.

The project is being lauded as “the first of its kind” in the country by the council, fitting into its plans to become carbon neutral by 2030 following the declaration of a climate emergency last year.

Joan Atkinson, lead member for area management and community safety at South Tyneside Council, with responsibility for climate change, said: “The appointment of a contractor is an exciting milestone; we are delighted to welcome Colloide on board and look forward to working together on this highly innovative project.”

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