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The UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has awarded £1 million ($1.5 million) in funding as part of a competition to support research into district heating technology.

Seventeen proposals were successful under the DECC-run competition and each will be allocated a share of the £1 million to carry out feasibility studies. Based on the studies carried out, 10 of the 17 ideas will then be awarded £6 million for development into real-world scenarios.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said: ‘This competition is all about supporting innovation and progress in the heat industry so we can heat more homes across the UK for less, while at the same time improve energy efficiency and cut the UK’s carbon emissions. More support for local heating projects will also give jobs in the sector a huge boost, with the value of the district and heat network market expected to rise to around £530 million this year.’

For example, a consortium including BRE, Barden Energy, Bizcat UK, Elgocell and the Home Group (and some of its Cumbrian tenants) will use the capital to look at how viable it is to create a super-efficient district heating network in low-rise social housing using the Elgotherm system – which can reduce heat losses in pipes by up to 40-50% and works well with low-volume demand, according to its backers.

Director of BRE Wales Colin King said ‘We want to… identify low cost, low carbon heating solutions for social housing that has broad application potential across the UK. We are confident that this initial study will help secure the next stage of funding from DECC when we can take the project to implementation stage.’

Other bidders include the London Borough of Islington, Greenfield Energy Ltd, Guru Systems Ltd, Sustain Ltd and PassivSystems Ltd.