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Cory and Vattenfall partner to supply low-carbon heat to East London

Vattenfall Heat UK, a subsidiary of Sweden-headed energy utility major Vattenfall AB has announced that it has secured the right to capture heat from the Cory Riverside Energy Group’s (Cory) Energy-from-Waste (EfW) facility at Belvedere, London and will develop a low-temperature heat network that could supply local households with district heat.

Vattenfall Heat UK has secured the right to capture heat from the Cory Riverside Energy Group’s (Cory) Energy-from-Waste (EfW) facility at Belvedere, London, and will develop a low-temperature heat network that could supply local households with district heat. An artist’s rendering of the proposed 96 MWe Riverside Energy Park energy-from-waste (EfW) facility adjacent to the existing 72 MWe Riverside Energy Recovery Facility EfW (image courtesy Cory Riverside Energy).

The project raises the real possibility that tens of thousands of properties could be provided with low-carbon heat via a wider area network, reducing carbon emissions by 80-90 percent compared to using conventional gas boilers in each household.

Vattenfall Heat UK will work with Cory on an application for funding from the UK Government’s Heat Networks Investment Project. Vattenfall will design the heat network and, if the project moves to the construction phase, lead the construction of the heat network infrastructure, operate the network, and supply and look after residential and commercial customers.

We are pleased to be working with Vattenfall on our heat network. Their skills and expertise will help us provide local homes and businesses with a clean, renewable, and reliable source of heat, said Andy Pike, Director of Strategic Infrastructure Development at Cory Riverside Energy.

Vattenfall’s design will introduce a new fourth-generation, low-temperature district heating network which will:

  • improve performance and reduce lost electricity revenues of the energy-from-waste facility;
  • use lower temperatures to reduce network heat losses, meaning more efficient operational cashflows;
  • result in lower capital costs on pipework, and;
  • be flexibly developed to enable future developments to connect to high-temperature legacy systems – meaning the network can be extended to link to existing properties, further reducing carbon emissions.

Vattenfall is the largest operator of district heating networks in western Europe, providing the infrastructure for low-carbon heat to 1.7 million households across Sweden, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Develop an East London Heat Network

Heat networks are essential to decarbonising heating in domestic and commercial properties, and to meeting the UK’s target of net zero emissions by 2050. They supply heat from a central low or zero-carbon energy sources, such as waste heat or local generation, to homes or businesses through a network of underground pipes. This means there is no need for individual boilers or electric heaters in every building.

This is a landmark moment not only for Vattenfall Heat UK but also for the drive to cut emissions from homes. We’re very proud to have been appointed by Cory Riverside Energy to capture the waste heat from their plant. We can use that heat to help local households keep warm without having to worry about the size of their energy bill, or whether they’re damaging the planet if they turn the heating up, said Adriana Rodriguez Cobas, Regional Director, South for Vattenfall Heat UK.

The proposed network in East London could initially provide heat to 10 500 homes earmarked for construction in the vicinity of Cory’s site. However, the design will allow for thousands of more properties to be added as they are constructed in the future, unlocking the potential for a much wider network.

This opportunity extends beyond the first phase of housing earmarked for development in Bexley. Vattenfall’s expertise means we can design the system so that future homes and business properties can also be linked up to the same heat network, without needing to go through the disruption and lengthy process of designing a bespoke network for a separate construction project. This is exactly the kind of long-term vision that Vattenfall has for district heating in the UK, and shows the potential of what can be achieved when multiple partners work together towards shared goals, said Adriana Rodriguez Cobas.

Vattenfall’s vision is to create an East London Heat Network, extending approximately 30 km across four London Boroughs – Bexley, Greenwich, Newham, Barking, and Dagenham. It will supply low and – ultimately – zero-carbon heat to both existing properties and new developments by re-using heat that is currently being wasted.

Individual developments would connect to the East London Heat Network as they are built. The entire project is estimated to be able to supply the equivalent of 75 000 homes, although, in reality, it would link up to residential, commercial, retail, and industrial buildings.

Heating our homes and businesses currently account for around 20 percent of UK greenhouse gas emissions. The Cory project is a great example of what can be achieved by multiple organisations working towards fossil-fuel-free living. Installing low-carbon heating technologies requires a strong partnership approach between planning authorities, energy specialists, and developers, along with a long-term vision to achieve environmental and economic ambitions. We’re ready to use our expertise to work with national and local authorities on a regulatory framework that enables this technology to be rolled out at scale, delivering the infrastructure needed to meet decarbonisation targets, said Noah Nkonge, Head of Partnerships at Vattenfall Heat UK.

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