Ebtech Energy Systems has installed and commissioned the UK’s largest river source heat pump at Hall Hunter Partnership, one of the UK’s soft fruit growers. The heated growing facility has been developed to provide continuity of supply to their major customer, M&S. The 8.8MW heat pump system, which cascades five high efficiency Hydrociat units, will provide heating to 110,000 m2 of strawberry crops allowing the site to produce fruit several weeks earlier than was previously achievable.
Ebtech and Hall Hunter went through a detailed process which began with Carbon Zero assessing the viability of the nearby River Lodden, a tributary of the Thames, as a reliable year-round energy source, which would ensure peak load heating during the coldest winter days. Once the viability was established, which took several months, Ebtech produced a detailed design, which was presented to Hall Hunter, who then went through rigorous due diligence with Dutch horticultural consultants, LAT, and UK based Genius Energy Lab to confirm the adherence of the design to industry standards.
Work on the heat pump plant room, 640ls river pump station, and 160km of heat distribution pipe began in July and the system was commissioned only five months later in December. By utilizing 3D design technology, Ebtech was able to fabricate 80% of the plant room infrastructure off-site, therefore significantly reducing the installation time. In the first six weeks, the heat pumps provided 5,000MWh, with peak load being maintained despite running through some of the coldest temperatures recorded in the last decade. This was hailed by the customer as a great success.
Managing Partner, Harry Hall, puts a keen emphasis on ethical production practices and care for the environment, so minimizing carbon emissions was of paramount importance. Ebtech has estimated that over the next 20 years the plant will save 44,000 tonnes of carbon emissions when compared to gas heating.
Hall Hunter have plans to install a further 8MW of heating in 2021.