A new combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Manchester, UK is expected to be a local landmark with the addition of plans for a 40-metre ‘tower of light’ sculptural chimney.

Structural engineering firm Arup and Tonkin Liu Architects are collaborating on the design, which combines the façade and structure. The sculptural skin of the tower provides support to the five chimney flues, Arup said, adding that the ‘shell lace structure’ of the design was inspired by the natural world.

The project is part of the city’s planned Civic Quarter Heat Network, which has received £2.87m in grant funding from the government’s national Heat Network Investment Project. It is being undertaken by Vital Energi in collaboration with the council, and is planned to include an energy centre.

The CHP plant, which includes two 2.7 MWe units, is planned to serve a 2 km district heating network that includes the city’s Town Hall.

Construction work is planned to begin in the spring. 

Manchester’s city council has targeted a 48 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020, with up to 3 TWh of its heating supplied locally by that year. 

According to the council, the new district heating network will reduce the city’s CO2 emissions by over 3500 tonnes per year and will operate for at least 30 years.