Woking News & Mail
WOKING will become a national leader in low-carbon heating, thanks to a £9.4 million grant from the Government.
ThamesWey Energy’s plans to expand and decarbonise the supply of heat to the town centre have been recognised by the funding, which was secured through the Heat Networks Investment Project.
A heat network is a distribution system of insulated pipes taking heat from a central source and delivering it to a series of buildings. The Woking project supplies heat to public sector, commercial and residential customers.
Under the national scheme – which aims to prompt a move away from fossil fuels and encourage the UK’s energy independence – low-carbon heat sources, such as heat pumps and energy from waste, will be supported.
Central to the project is ThamesWey’s Poole Road energy and cooling centre, easily identifiable by its two bright orange cylinders.
“They are thermal stores, heat batteries each containing 167,000 litres of hot water,” said Sam Pepper, ThamesWey’s environmental projects manager. “Like a hot water cylinder you might have at home, but on a town centre scale. They store heat energy which helps generation equipment to work more consistently and efficiently.”
The system is already operational, supplying heat to Victoria Place’s shops, residential tower blocks and the Hilton Hotel, distributing heat as hot water through a network of buried insulated pipes.
“The network is constructed,” Sam added, “although most additional connections will require extending the buried pipework, which is supported by this fund.
“The funds will also support the integration of the first renewable heat sources, commercial- size air source heat pumps, to supplement the use of combined heat and power. The network has flexibility to adapt to whatever changes we might face in the future by simply making upgrades in one place [Poole Road], rather than in each building.
“Technology that can be incorporated in the future includes recovering waste heat, heat pumps, biofuels, hydrogen, and more, which will reflect whatever changes we face over the next 50 years.