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Testing new heating systems

We are running a series of trials of new systems to help us deliver more efficient and sustainable heating in our homes and businesses.

Air source heat pumps

The Greater Manchester Smart Communities demonstration project is a partnership between Greater Manchester’s Combined Authority (GMCA) and Japan’s New Energy Development Organisation (NEDO) with other partners including Wigan and Leigh Homes, Northwards Housing, Six Town Housing and their respective councils, Hitachi Ltd, Daikin Industries Ltd, Mizuho Bank,  Electricity Northwest and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The project supported the shift from gas to electric heating by combining low-carbon heat pump technology, demand response and aggregation and examine its impact on the network and benefits to customers. This pilot currently places GM at the forefront of domestic energy technology innovation.

The project was able to demonstrate a significant reduction of energy demand on the National Grid and test real market situations to identify cases where electricity aggregation using heat pumps can be used effectively.

An air source heat pump is like air conditioning in reverse; condensing warmth from outside to produce heating inside. Householders use an IT system to manage their heating efficiently.  Demand Side Response coordinates and controls the combined electricity use of the households at peak times of the day.

Smart systems

Greater Manchester is part of a national Energy Technology Institute (ETI) programme testing new smart heating models. The aim is to produce efficient, low carbon energy solutions for whole neighbourhoods.

This brings us significant investment and puts us at the forefront of research into new technology.

The Greater Manchester Spatial Energy plan (evidence base study) was commissioned as part of the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) Smart Systems and Heat Programme and undertaken through collaboration between the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the Energy Systems Catapult.

The study has consolidated the significant data and existing evidence relating to the local energy system to provide a platform for future energy planning in the region and the development of suitable policies within the emerging spatial planning framework for Greater Manchester.

Heat networks

A number of heat network opportunities across the city region are at various stages of development. Benefits of district heating networks can include: 

  1. Provision of low carbon / lower cost heat to domestic and commercial customers
  2. Diversification of the energy mix
  3. Reductions in Region-wide carbon emissions
  4. Targeting and reduction of fuel poverty
  5. Potential long term revenue streams for local authorities 
  6. Alignment with regeneration programmes
  7. Driving the growth of the low carbon services sector

The PDU supports local authorities and key stakeholders to ensure that investable schemes are taken from feasibility through to strategic business case, project procurement, final business case, and delivery.

The first project for which the business case and procurement milestones have been reached is the Manchester Civic Quarter Heat (Energy) Network (CQHN) 

Manchester Civic Quarter Heat Network

The CQHN proposal involves, as its base scheme, a cluster of primarily Manchester City Council-owned or controlled buildings (including the Town Hall and Central Library) supplied with heat from a new central plant room at Manchester Central. The scheme will also include private wire electricity supply, and potential for significant expansion to other heat off-takers. 

Detailed techno-economic feasibility studies have recently been completed for six further opportunities:

  • A network at the Co-op/Hermes  mixed-use NOMA development at the northern edge of Manchester City Centre
  • Development of a series of network opportunities within the Corridor area of Manchester City Centre 
  • An extension of the existing tri-generation (supplying heating, cooling and power) network at MediaCity UK 
  • A network in Ashton under Lyne town centre supplying heat and power to civic and commercial buildings;
  • A network in Bury town centre supplying heat and power to civic and commercial buildings;
  • A network in Bolton town centre supplying heat and power to civic and commercial buildings, and including assessment of the potential for supplying low carbon heat from the nearby existing Raikes Lane Energy from Waste plant. 
  • Further master-planning studies are underway at the following locations:
  • Piccadilly Station, Manchester City Centre
  • Salford Central (based upon significant planned commercial and residential development in the city centre) 
  • Trafford Park Industrial Estate (based upon existing high-energy-volume users, and large scale primary and secondary heat generation opportunities). 
  • Greater Manchester (GM) Regional Centre. 
  • Heat networks - Low Carbon Hub website

Research projects

DIMMER District Information Modelling and Management for Energy Reduction – A European funded project to develop software which allows users to model how different energy measures and behaviour will affect the performance of a building and districts.  

The software can be used by residents, energy managers, estate managers and building and design professionals to test different scenarios.  The Project is using two pilot areas Turin and the Corridor to develop and test the software.