The UK saw 23 biomethane-to-grid connections in 2015, making it the fastest growing market in the world for the technology. The new connections bring the total number of installed gas-to-grid plants in the UK to 50, almost doubling the figure at the end of 2014. Biomethane-to-grid is the process whereby renewable gas is injected into the UK’s gas grid, giving a flexible and efficient source of sustainable energy made from organic material including sewage sludge and food waste. Severn Trent’s Minworth wastewater treatment works (WwTW), Northumbrian Water’s Howden WwTW and Wessex Water’s Avonmouth WwTW are among the wastewater treatment sites to have made successful connections. By mid-2016, when all completed projects are at full capacity, it is expected that there will be around 120 million therms per annum going into to grid, with annual green gas production reaching 3.5 TWh per year. This injection will replace 240,000 tonnes of natural gas that would otherwise have been imported into the country. Biomethane is also increasingly being used as a fuel for transport, known as Bio-CNG. Wessex Water’s subsidiary GenECO has used the gas to fuel vehicles and is in talks with bus companies in Bristol about supplying them with the fuel.
Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has launched the UK’s first SHARC energy recovery system at the campus in Galashiels. Backed by investment from Equitix and the UK Green Investment Bank, the SHARC heat recovery system intercepts waste water from a sewer close to the local treatment works operated by Scottish Water. The system uses a heat pump to amplify the natural warmth of waste water and the heat produced is being sold to Borders College under a 20-year purchase agreement, producing savings in energy, costs and carbon emissions. The system now provides around 95% of the heat needed by the Galashiels campus and does not impact on the normal operation of the local waste water network, according to the company.
A heat pump manufactured by Star Renewable Energy has been shipped from Glasgow to E.ON’s community energy centre in Cranbrook following a launch attended by MSPs Sarah Boyack and Ken MacIntosh. The renewable heat technology will allow renewable heating and hot water to be delivered to 300 brand new homes through a network of super-insulated underground pipes and will eventually deliver the harvested heat to 3,500 new homes and 1.4 million square feet of industrial space. Star Renewable Energy director Dave Pearson talked about the uncertainty of the UK’s Government indecision about the continuity of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) past March 2016 is causing. He said: “It is particularly astounding that technology hailed as “game-changing” by former UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey, which can draw warmth from rivers and provide affordable, clean heat for homes across the country and save millions of tonnes of CO2 is not receiving the same level of support of technologies such as nuclear, when half of the energy we use in the UK does not come as electricity but in the form of heat”.
Sunamp, a Scottish manufacturer of heat batteries for domestic energy storage, including models designed to link with PV systems, has started serial production of its units from a base in the UK. Company boss Andrew Bissell and his team revealed at the Solar Energy UK show yesterday that Sunamp’s assembly partner, Bay Solutions, is putting together Sunamp products at a rate of 100 cells a week, equating to 50 units. While the company undoubtedly wants to go for the wider commercial market long term, the initial focus of this output will be for a community-run and privately-invested programme to assess the long-term impact on fuel poverty of using the heat storage in combination with PV on the roofs of at least 1,000 social housing developments.
Glasgow-based Star Renewable Energy is to design and build a large-scale heat pump to work with a solar-energy installation and supply Eon’s community energy centre in Cranbrook with heating and hot water. This low-carbon heating venture is the first of its kind in the UK to merge large-scale heat pumps and solar thermal panels with contributions from solar photo-voltaic and dedicated heat storage systems in a large-scale district heating network.
Thousands of householders are installing solar-powered “smart meters” that promise to cut household bills by £250 a year. The development comes as state payouts for renewable energy produced in homes fall sharply. The devices track when rooftop solar panels produce excess energy and divert it to a water heater. The hot water can be used later, saving on gas and electricity bills. Any gadget that claims to improve the return on solar panels will come as welcome news to home owners who could see subsidies cut by 87pc as part of a government reform to the “feed-in tariff”. If you bought solar panels today the Government would pay a feed-in-tariff rate of 13p per kilowatt hour (kWh). But from January this rate will drop to less than 2p.
This project wants to support this rural village by installing a heat pump in facilities for sport and leisure. The sports pavilion will be able to be heated economically and ensure it is sustainable Income from the associated solar PV installation will contribute to the running costs of the pavilion The social room will provide a focal point for events such as the Village Gala, Fun Run, sports teams and children’s parties or other social activities.
Powering Wigton Baths Into The Future: We need your vote! We need your votes to secure the regional prize (£12,500) so that we can install 40 Solar PV Panels on the south facing roof of the Swimming Baths in Wigton. Each year we would save £2,500 from our running costs and 4.7 tonnes of carbon. And would continue to do so each year for the next 25-30 years. 1900 local people successfully campaigned to keep the Swimming Baths open. Local people have been swimming in Wigton for the past 100 years and we want to make sure that your grandchildren and great grandchildren are able to swim there too. We know you do. In the past four months we have been delighted by the numbers of you coming back to the Baths attracted by the longer opening hours; improvements to changing areas; special offers; loyalty cards; increased staffing (nine local jobs created); special sessions; etc..
A college in Hampshire has teamed up with green energy supplier Ecotricity to build an anaerobic digestion (AD) mill on campus, it was announced yesterday. Sparsholt College has announced its intention to build a Green Gas Mill after receiving support from clean energy company Ecotricity and a grant from the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership. Ecotricity said the 6MW plant will convert locally harvested grass into carbon neutral green gas, providing enough energy to supply renewable heat to almost 5,000 homes each year. The gas created will be used to supply both the college and local residents. The AD plant would be the latest in a series of green developments from the college, which has already installed a rooftop solar array and last year submitted plans to build a 500KW wind turbine at its site. Tim Jackson, college principal, said the development would put the college at “the centre of what is the future of gas generation in Britain”.
Glasgow-based Start Renewable Energy has won a £350,000 contract to supply heat pumps for a pioneering renewable energy scheme which will, for the first time in the UK, see solar thermal panels being used to power a district heating scheme. Under the contract Star will design and build a large-scale heat pump system connected to a solar energy farm to be built in the new town of Cranbrook, now under construction near Exeter. The system will provide heat and hot water to the town’s district heating scheme, one of the largest in the country, operated by German energy giant E.On. David Pearson, director of Star Renewable Energy, told the Sunday Herald that the demonstrator project – awarded a £1.3 million research grant from the Department of Energy and Climate Change earlier this month – would help prove that heat pumps can be used effectively with low carbon solar panels. A successful system would allow Crankbrook’s currently gas-fired system to lower its emissions.”The aim of the project is to improve the performance of heat networks and to demonstrate how the combined technologies can replace or work alongside the existing combined heat and power district heating scheme to provide lower cost and significantly lower carbon heating and hot water,” Pearson said.