Latest UKDEA & District Energy News


10.15, 31st March 2012

DECC Heatmap – a framework for future District Heating networks?


Launched simultaneously with this weeks heat strategy, the National Heat Map has been developed to help planners identify potential areas for district heating networks of the future.

Developed by the Centre for Sustainable Energy and launched by DECC, the map is the most sophisticated of its kind, overlaying detailed data gathered from a variety of sources, including members of the UKDEA, to set out a framework of where the heat demand is in business and residential buildings as well as existing district heating networks and CHP plants.

The development of the map included the use of advanced data modelling techniques and DECC’s national datasets to create the most advanced map of its kind to date.

The map has laid the groundwork for further feasibility studies to be carried out in hot spot areas and is intended to provide commercial companies and local authorities with the information required to develop district heating in the areas where it will be most effective.

A government statement said that, “Heat networks can play an increasingly important role in the move to low carbon heating, but there are many practical hurdles to be overcome first, including knowing where the best locations to site these systems are. That's why DECC has launched the new interactive National Heat Map, an online website aimed at helping planners to identify potential areas for district heating networks."

The UKDEA welcomes this tool and hopes that is lives up to its promises of stimulating district energy development in the future. We would be interested to know how you think the map performs, and whether you think it will help the district energy industry in future. Join the debate and post your comments on our LinkedIn discussion group. The heatmap is available here.


10:05, 30th March 2012

District Heating to Play Important Role in the Decarbonisation of UK


 In a new strategy published by Government, the role of heat networks and heat pumps has been highlighted as a major contributor to lowering the carbon emissions in UK homes, businesses and industry.

Yesterday the government made a clear statement regarding its vision for the future of UK heat provision. In order to slash carbon emissions from domestic houses, factories and businesses across the nation, the heat strategy investigates the options for low carbon heating in the future.

For individual buildings, heat pumps will be a strong contender for a low carbon heating choice, and for more densely occupies areas such as towns, cities and trading estates, district heating networks offer the most efficient and least costly manner of hooking buildings up to low carbon heat sources.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Ed Davey, commented that, “Cutting emissions from the way we generate heat is essential if we are to meet our climate change and renewable targets. Many towns, cities and communities around the UK are already switching from fossil fuel to low carbon forms of heating such as biomass, heat pumps and solar thermal.”

"I want to give the opportunity to others to follow the pioneers so that, in time, our buildings are no longer dependent on burning fossil fuels for heat but using affordable and reliable alternatives to help create a flourishing, competitive low carbon manufacturing industry. I welcome views on this plan to ensure Government and industry can work together towards a sustainable, affordable and low carbon energy future."

Although this heat strategy is not a policy document, it does build on the Carbon Plan published last December and will help inform future policy by setting a framework for low carbon heating.

As well as technologies, the publication considers the economic impact of decarbonising heat, the barriers to low carbon heat and examples of best practice. The National Heat Map was published at the same time, which is designed to help planners identify areas for district heating networks.

DECC has invited views and comments on the strategy up until May 24th. Comments and opinions can be submitted online, and after this date a summary and specific policy proposals will be published.

09:45, 27th March 2012

Green Energy Plant for Sheffield

Sheffield could be enjoying a lower carbon footprint in the future, as a newly formed green energy company submits proposals to build a £20m combined heat and power plant on the Holbrook Industrial Estate.

UYE (UK) Ltd has submitted plans to Sheffield City Council for the development of a Community Renewable Energy plant on the Holbrook Industrial Estate at Halfway. The Sheffield based company has drawn up the proposals for the construction and operation of a small scale, combined heat and power plant (CHP) using pre-prepared wood chips as fuel to generate electricity for use in the National Grid and heat that will be available for local consumers.

The planned plant will be fuelled by biomass using reclaimed timber from demolition sites and others, and is planned to be sited on a brownfield area. It will produce in excess of 33,000 megawatt hours of electricity every year and the heat produced will be recovered and supplied to the Sheffield Council district heating scheme nearby.

Stephen Brooks, a director of the company, said: “We have been quietly working on this project for the last two-and-a-half years and after considerable research and development we can bring forward our proposals for using locally sourced recovered wood chip as a fuel for renewable energy production.

“The plant has an Organic Rankine Cycle process which doesn’t involve steam generation but the transfer of energy using oils and silicates. It will be self contained inside a small industrial unit which is appropriate for the proposed ‘brownfield’ location. We believe the principle of this project is the sustainable use of renewable energy in a beautifully efficient process that sits comfortably in its proposed surroundings.

“It will use technology proven across Europe and all the operations would be regulated by a permit from the Environment Agency that will cover emissions and fuel handling at the site. “The project has been designed to potentially benefit the local community because heat produced could be used in nearby district heating schemes – cutting equivalent fossil fuel use.

“We will be consulting local people and businesses including holding a public exhibition in the locality in the next few weeks. We will listen to local views and incorporate what we can into the planning proposals. We strongly support the principle of local influence in local projects as an integral part of the determination of planning applications”

11:45, 19th March 2012

UKDEA member REHAU Invests in UK Manufacturing for Pre Insulated Pipework

REHAU will shortly become the first manufacturer to extrude pre-insulated polymer pipework in the UK for use in biomass and district heating applicatins.

Production of REHAU’s RAUVITHERM pipework will start at REHAU’s factory in Blaenau, North Wales in May and will offer UK based contractors and specifiers a local source of pipe with a lower carbon footprint and improved lead times.

Martin Hitchin, REHAU’s Chief Executive, commented on the move: “We have invested in new manufacturing technology at our largest UK factory in order to meet growing demand from the market for a UK produced pipe.

“It will be produced to exactly the same specification and quality as the RAUVITHERM pipework which we currently supply from our factory in Germany but will have a much lower carbon footprint.”

This is the latest positive indication of REHAU’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions across the entire supply chain and will start to have an impact almost immediately. The carbon savings will be ongoing and are expected to increase significantly as demand for the product continues to surge in the UK.

Steve Richmond, Business Team Leader for REHAU’s Renewable Energy products, added: “In the past year, REHAU has seen sales of RAUVITHERM increase by 100%. This is being driven by the booming UK biomass and district heating markets and, more recently, by the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme launched in November 2011.

“By transferring production to the UK, we will have greater flexibility to meet this growing demand and will be able to offer customers shorter lead times.”

RAUVITHERM is a pre-insulated PE-Xa pipe constructed with layers of cross linked PE insulation and a robust HDPE outer jacket which is longitudinally watertight. It is popular in the UK market because of the high degree of flexibility it offers which simplifies and speeds up installation and because it uses REHAU’s renowned EVERLOC compression sleeve jointing system - proven millions of times in heating and plumbing applications to deliver a permanent leak free joint. 

REHAU provides design support for RAUVITHERM installations, assisting specifiers and contractors with pipe sizing, heat loss calculations and drawing up bill of materials from heat network drawings.

RAUVITHERM is part of REHAU’s package of solutions for the district heating market which also includes closed cell RAUTHERMEX pre-insulated pipework, RAUGEO ground source energy solutions and underfloor heating systems.

09:30: 14th March 2012

Birmingham’s Iconic Library Connected to Award Winning District Energy Scheme 


Last Monday 5th March, the Library of Birmingham took deliver of their combined heat and power engine, which will provide the £188M building with low carbon heat and electricity when it opens in 2013.

As the newest addition to the city’s award winning district energy scheme, the Library will be playing an important role in helping the City Council to achieve its aim of cutting carbon emissions by 60% before 2026.

Like some of the other high energy users in the city that are linked to the district energy scheme, the library will host its own CHP engine, providing heating, hot and cool water as well as electricity to both the library building and the REP. The carbon savings through the use of CHP are estimated to be in the region of 1,300 tonnes CO2 per year when compared to alternative energy sources.

The new Library of Birmingham has been designed to be a sustainable building, featuring low energy lighting, water conservation systems and ‘brown roof’ areas to encourage wildlife and biodiversity.

The district energy scheme in Birmingham was launched in 2007 and is one of the UK’s fastest growing networks. Owned and operated by Cofely District Energy, the scheme has received numerous awards, including the 2011 Property and Facilities Management Award for the best UK partnership of the year and the International Energy Agency’s Certificate of Superior Achievement.

Simon Woodward, chair of the UKDEA and Chief Executive of Cofely District Energy said:

“We are delighted to be adding the iconic Library of Birmingham building to the District Energy Scheme and congratulate our partners Birmingham City Council on the development of this magnificent building and facility. During the last five years, together with our partners – the City Council, Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Aston University, we have built one of the largest and best known District Energy schemes in the UK.  Over the next five years, working with our partners, we aim to spread the considerable benefits of district energy by extending the City Centre scheme and starting to add more schemes across the City.”