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10:00, 22nd December 2016

Fastflow Group secures £20m deal with UK housing association

Washington-based Fastflow Group is firing up the property maintenance sector after winning a £20m deal with a national housing association.

The firm has sealed a four-year framework agreement to support Genesis, one of the UK’s leading social housing organisations, which serves 100,000 people living in 33,000 homes in London and the east of England.

The £20m contract could increase in value, as it allows other housing providers to procure the same services without the need for further tendering.

The new deal will be carried out out by Fastflow’s property division DW Support Services (DWSS), which the North East group acquired in 2014 to widen its service portfolio.

Operating from Thame in Oxfordshire, DWSS’s deal will significantly boost the group’s turnover, which this year looks set to top £70m.

The contract will see the firm maintain existing plant rooms and heating systems and supply new, combined heat and power gas fired boiler systems, renewable heating and smart metering installations.

It serves the entire Genesis property portfolio across the South East of the UK.

DWSS will be supported by Enerza Solutions, in Luton, a specialist in modern district heating, metering, control and billing systems, securing up to 40 jobs and creating new training and employment opportunities.

DWSS managing director Colin McMahon said: “We are delighted to broaden our range of services with Genesis in line with our strategy to provide integrated support to our customers.

“We look forward to providing high levels of service, the best possible value and impressing those who matter most – residents in the association’s homes.

“Our aim is to improve the efficiency and reliability of the heating systems through the installation of cutting edge, yet tried and tested technology. This in turn should bring long term improvement to our clients’ communities.”

Enerza chief executive officer Shahid Mirza added: “We are delighted to partner with DWSS, combining the expertise of both companies to increase the efficiency of Genesis property assets. We also look forward to utilising a range of technologies to further enhance the Genesis portfolio.”

Fastflow subsidiaries also includes its Pipeline Services Division, also Washington based, which provides water management across networks in the North East and Scotland, supplying almost three million customers.

The Warrington-based Energy Services Division, meanwhile, delivers specialist diversion, repair and maintenance projects on the UK high pressure gas transmission networks.

Read more at Chronicle Live

10:00, 21st December 2016

Two ammonia heat pumps from Star Renewable Energy have been shortlisted for awards

MSPs, MP's from the Scottish Parliament, witness shipment of Star Renewable Energy Neatpump to E.ON’s community energy centre at the company’s manufacturing facilities in Glasgow.

Star Renewable Energy, part of UK-based Star Refrigeration, has been shortlisted to receive two ACR and Heat Pump Awards at a ceremony on 26 January 2017. The shortlisted heat pumps, based on ammonia, are used in district heating.

Star’s Neatpump air source heat pump and its water source heat pump have both been listed in the heat pump product category as 2017 finalists for HVAC&R awards organised by ACR Magazine.

Dave Pearson, director of Star Renewable Energy, said, “we are absolutely thrilled to be nominated for the awards, and proud that our sustainable Neatpumps are acknowledged by the industry”.

The Neatpumps, as Star calls them, are available in capacities of between 350kW and 8,000kW. They can be used to cool both water and secondary fluids, including glycol.

The heat pumps have been installed in a number of locations in the UK to provide cheap heating for homes.

The air source heat pump has been used to heat 350 social homes in Hillpark Drive, Glasgow, Scotland. The project was designed in conjunction with Glasgow Housing Association to alleviate fuel poverty for seven existing high-rise blocks, and is one of first community heat pumps installed in the UK.

The second heat pump has been used to supply heat and hot water to one of the UK’s largest district heating schemes, in Cranbrook, Exeter, England. In combination with solar thermal panels, Star’s heat pump increases the water temperature to 80 degrees Celsius overnight, when off-peak electricity is cheap, to allow the system to meet peak demand for energy in the morning.

The Cranbrook scheme, piloted by E.ON Community Centre, is serving 3,500 new homes as well as 1.4 million square feet of industrial space.

“We hope this accolade will increase awareness of the renewable energy options available for residential and commercial projects,” Pearson said.

“But mostly, I would like to thank our partners: E.ON Community Centre, Glasgow Housing Association (GHA), WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, and the residents of Hillpark Drive who all share the same vision of a fuel poverty- and carbon-free heating future,” he said.

The winners of the awards will be announced on 26 January 2017 at Birmingham Town Hall, Birmingham in the UK.

Originally published at Ammonia 21

10:00, 20th December 2016

Plans for district heating network to be built on the Clydeside reach next stage

Councillors have agreed to push plans for a new district heating network (DHN) earmarked for Clydeside to the next level.

A meeting was held in Clydebank Town Hall last week for elected members to discuss the proposal, which would see the council put forward a £6 million investment and apply for the Scottish Government to put forward a further £6m to complete the project.

West Dunbartonshire Council will have to wait until January to determine if it has been selected for the funding grant but, if approved, work will begin on the Queen’s Quay network as early as next year.

The network would initially be expected to serve West College Scotland’s Clydebank campus, the town hall and library, as well as several other developments that have yet to open their doors on the Quay – including the highly-anticipated new leisure centre, which is expected to open next year.

However, plans for the 40-year project – which will require the replacement of three water pumps used to make it work once during its lifetime – hope to see it become responsible for heat in the Golden Jubilee Hospital before extending even further to the likes of Clyde Shopping Centre and Dalmuir.

If the funding is made available, the council’s director for regeneration, environment and growth Jim McAloon said the project will be “future-proofed” to ensure the possibility of expansion, to which the only limit will be financial costs.

Mr McAloon said: “[The Scottish Government] is looking for projects others will be able to learn from and implement in the future and we believe the Queen’s Quay DHN will be that opportunity.

Read more on this at Clydebank Post.

10:00, 15th December 2016

Smart cities and district heating to lead EU decarbonisation

Cities can lead European decarbonisation efforts by championing integrated solutions for heating and cooling, according to two expert reports. District schemes are seen as a key element in such strategies.

In its paper, Brussels-based thinktank the Breugel Institute, says cities are becoming "the key arena" for EU decarbonisation. Half of all energy consumed in the EU is used for heating and cooling in buildings, industry and businesses, they note. "As heat/cold cannot be efficiently transported over long distances… these markets will thus remain local."

This combined with a decentralising energy system and the enormous opportunities of digitisation are creating the potential for cities to drive decarbonisation through a variety of approaches, the authors say.

These include district heating and cooling systems "based on clean fuels" as well as the development of energy storage capacity, cogeneration of heat and power, and use of waste heat from industry.

The paper cites the EU Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy as a starting place but states that its impact has been insufficient. The covenant’s "isolation" from the broader EU energy and climate governance framework and a lack of financial incentives for cities to participate are given as key reasons.

The paper proposes a voluntary system of city climate plans. Participating cities should create an emissions inventory and identify areas of their economies with the greatest decarbonisation potential before creating and implementing climate plans.

Participation in the scheme should unlock EU funding and national fiscal incentives, the experts say. If all European cities with more than 20,000 inhabitants took part, they note, the system could embrace up to 365 million EU citizens.

Meanwhile, the EU-funded Stratego project on Low Carbon Heating and Cooling Strategies for Europe has published its final report documenting key outputs.

These include a pan-European thermal atlas enabling cities to check local thermal demand on a 1km2 resolution, identify potential to expand district heating and cooling and quantify the available waste heat resources and renewable energy sources, including biomass.

The project also developed heat roadmaps for five target countries: Czech Republic, Croatia, Italy, Romania and the UK. It developed recommendations to make heating and cooling provision more sustainable. It also proposed 43 specific sustainable heating and cooling projects for local authorities.

Originally published at ENDSWaste&Bioenergy

10:00, 14th December 2016

Case study: Vital Energi's CHP at the University of Edinburgh

A combined heat and power (CHP)-based energy installation at Scotland's University of Edinburgh threw up more challenges than most for installer Vital Energi, with archaeology and conservation issues and restricted access. But with those challenges overcome, the project is now saving the university money on its energy bills while lowering its CO₂ emissions.

Key benefits include:

· A flexible solution that adapted to the client’s requirements and kept the project schedule on track;

· Careful preparation ensuring that multiple hurdles were successfully managed;

· A low carbon energy supply saving 1016 tonnes of CO₂ per year;

· A private wire network supplying campus buildings and cutting electricity costs.

‘The system being installed is one of the best low carbon solutions we’ve found over the years and we can make significant savings, in terms of thousands of tonnes of carbon per year, and that is a major contribution to our overall targets,’ says David Barratt, Operations Manager at the University of Edinburgh. ‘Vital have shown themselves to be flexible during the course of this project. There were several instances, such as during the exam period and the Edinburgh Fringe, when some areas of work had to stop and Vital have had to work around it. Through good planning and management they continued to meet the tight deadlines while causing as little disruption as possible to the University of Edinburgh and its stakeholders.’

Project overview

In 2015, Scotland’s energy bill for its universities and colleges reached £25 million ($32 million) and these institutions have been officially tasked with reducing their energy bills and CO₂ emissions.

The University of Edinburgh is a perfect example of the challenges facing modern educational institutions. In the last 25 years its student population has almost trebled to well over 30,000 and it saw the number of computers connected to the university network grow from 1000 in 1999 to more than 16,000 in 2009.

This huge growth has seen a dramatic rise in the amount of energy consumed, but through continuous investment in its energy infrastructure and campus, the university has significantly reduced its CO₂ output despite its expansion. The most recent step to lower energy consumption and emissions saw a new £8 million low carbon community heating system and private electricity network installed by Vital Energi for the University of Edinburgh Utilities Supply Company.

The University of Edinburgh has a track record of investing a percentage of their annual utilities spend on energy efficiency improvements, a practice which has seen newspaper The Guardian describe their work as the country’s ‘quietest green revolution’.

 

The challenge and the solution

The University of Edinburgh proved to be one of the most challenging projects Vital Energi had undertaken. The 431-year-old University brought with it a mix of conservation and heritage issues, extremely limited access and a hugely challenging timescale for completion of the project. This timescale was made even more difficult due to scheduled periods where work ceased in order to accommodate the Edinburgh Fringe comedy festival and student exams.

Working within the historic part of Edinburgh brought its own challenges. The team had to lay district heating pipe beneath Flodden Wall, which is a historic monument, meticulously removing and replacing cobbled streets and accompanied by an archaeologist who was plotting the boundaries of the old city wall. The work also led to the discovery of a knight’s skeleton during excavation in High School Yards, which created a temporary delay.

Forethought and careful planning enabled Vital Energi to overcome some significant obstacles in order to successfully complete the design and build of a new combined heat and power (CHP) energy centre located within the staff car park area of The Centre for Sport and Exercise (CSE) to provide heating, hot water and electricity to the University campus via underground pipework and cabling. In its determination to meet the timescale, Vital Energi undertook a large amount of prefabrication work to ensure ease and speed of installation on-site. This included having all the energy centre mechanical pipe work prefabricated off-site to ensure quality of product, reduce on-site welding and save install time on-site.

The energy centre houses one CHP 1.4 MWe engine, a 100,000 litre thermal storage, two 9 MW backup/peak load gas boilers, High Voltage/Low Voltage switchrooms and associated plant. The CHP engine will provide heat and hot water via a district heating network which involved approximately 4 km of pipe connecting 13 sites and generating electricity for 14 buildings.

The new North and South Holyrood postgraduate accommodation blocks are included within the scheme and Vital Energi pulled out all the stops to include two additional buildings – Thomson’s Land and Paterson’s Land – which were originally scheduled for connection at a later date.

The energy centre site was only accessible through a narrow low tunnel measuring 3.5-3.7 metres in height. Vital Energi, therefore, had to design the equipment to fit through this access while still delivering optimum performance. This challenge was a first for the firm, but careful preparation meant that the team managed to bring all equipment and plant through the tunnel except the gas-fired boilers and the thermal store. Special permission from highways was obtained to shut Viewcraig Gardens, the street running alongside the CSE, while the remaining plant was craned on to site after Vital Energi had managed to build up good working relationships with the two highways departments impacted by the project.

At Thomson’s Land the team had to install the pipes up the side of the building and clad them in sandstone to match the existing building facade. At St Leonard’s there were two plant rooms originally, one serving the pool and the other providing space heating. The team combined the two plant rooms together to improve efficiency.

The entire scheme has been future-proofed by sizing the district heating to accommodate later extension to serve the OId College Area and link to George Square.

The University of Edinburgh has a long history of improving its environmental performance, was already utilizing CHP technology and had a clear idea of the areas where it could make improvements.

Vital Energi’s in-house expertise allowed them to be flexible with regards to planning and installation. They were on-site just two weeks after signing the contract and completed basic building work on the energy centre within three months.

The new community energy scheme was installed and finished in time and on budget and now saves the University approximately £170,000 a year in energy costs (gas and electricity) and reduces its annual carbon emissions by an estimated 1016 tonnes.