The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) is to invest nearly £500,000 to support the continued development of the University of Nottingham’s Creative Energy Homes project.
The Creative Energy Homes (CEH) scheme at the University Park Campus consists of four detached and three semi-detached properties built to different building regulations and acts as a test bed for the integration of new energy-efficient technologies into houses.
The ETI investment in the three-year project will further develop the CEH scheme, allowing it to become a fully flexible integrated community smart heat and power network demonstration test facility.
A new small-scale heat network with heat storage capability to provide heat directly to the homes on the CEH scheme will be introduced.
ETI Energy Storage and Distribution Project Manager, Susie Winter said: “Our analysis has shown that heat networks could play a significant part in decarbonizing the provision of heat in the UK’s future energy system and this combined with the potential for localised electricity storage using battery, hydrogen or other solutions may provide real benefits to the energy system.
“The additional facilities which will be added to the Nottingham project will help us to understand the interaction of electrical and heat networks on local communities coupled with storage solutions in real-life situations.
“Developing this test facility will provide a platform for de-risking and trialling new ideas and technologies and showcasing them to potential investors.”
Prof Mark Gillott, from the Faculty of Engineering, at The University of Nottingham, said: “The addition of the heat network and storage facility at the Creative Energy Homes site is an exciting addition to our unique research test facility.
"Over the coming years we will be working with the ETI and industry partners to develop and trial the next generation of low carbon community energy solutions in order to inform larger schemes within our towns and cities.”
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 two per cent 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.
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 UK 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.
Information on the Decarbonising Heat analysis, including the report, video and an infographic can be found at: http://www.eti.co.uk/heat-insight-decarbonising-heat-for-uk-homes/