UK Government to keep homes warm using waste heat from data centres

Heat accounts for more than a third of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions

The Government has selected five new projects that will receive a share of £65m to keep nearby homes warm using waste heat from local data centres.

The Old Oak Park Royal development in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham will use the funding to recycle waste heat from large computer systems to supply heating for the local community.

The project, backed by £36m from the Government, will connect 10,000 new homes and 250,000m2 of commercial space to the low-carbon heat.

Other projects are located in London, Watford, Suffolk and Lancaster, all of which will receive grants from the Green Heat Network Fund. Lancaster University will use £21m to attempt to fully decarbonise its campus via a low-carbon heat network, utilising heat pumps, a new solar farm and access to wind energy.

Many businesses are also trialling methods to power nearby homes with waste heat from their energy-intensive data centres, including the likes of Facebook and Microsoft.

Energy Security Secretary Claire Coutinho said: “Innovative projects, like these announced today, are another example of why the UK is a world leader in cutting carbon emissions.

“We are investing in the technologies of the future so that families across the country will now be able to warm their homes with low-carbon, recycled heat – while creating thousands of new skilled jobs.”

Heating has been a major challenge in the UK’s efforts to decarbonise and currently accounts for more than one-third of total emissions. As the Government pledges to invest in heat pump technologies, it is also exploring how heating networks can be used to capture waste heat from local industrial and commercial buildings and reuse it. The cost-of-living crisis and rising gas costs have only added to the importance of tackling this issue.

Earlier this year, the Government confirmed how it would allocate almost £2bn of funding to improve the energy efficiency of more than 115,000 homes and public sector buildings like schools and hospitals. It then built on that funding by announcing the creation of the Great British Insulation Scheme,

Switching to low-carbon heat sources and solutions forms a major part of the Government’s task to reach net-zero by 2050. Currently, heating buildings accounts for around 30% of UK emissions.

The new funding builds on the £122m awarded to support 11 new heat network projects across the country, under the government’s Green Heat Network Fund.

Last year, the Government allocated a £54m tranche of funding for district heat network projects, pledging to support networks serving 28,000 properties in three areas across the South of England.

Comments (2)

  1. David González Uribe says:

    I love the work you do. i will love the result of it

  2. Richard Phillips says:

    It should be borne in mind that there are only two sources of non-fossil fuel energy; nuclear and natural (wind, solar and tidal).
    The use of “waste” energy, heat is entirely praiseworthy, but its major source is fossil. Secondary use of heat improves the efficiency of use, but does alter its’ source.
    Natural sources and nuclear are not major contributors, but new nuclear will be welcomed. Land based wind farms will be very visually obtrusive, it just cannot be helped, sorry!!

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