ESB Energy partnered with Low Carbon Farming to design, build and manage a renewable heating solution for the UK’s largest greenhouse complex. "Located in East Anglia and covering two sites and 29 Hectares, the project now serves as a critical proof of concept in meeting the challenges of the UK’s post-Brexit food security needs, as well our 2030 carbon reduction targets," the team says, and show the facility in a new video.
"Low Carbon Farming came to us with an ambitious vision to achieve a world-first: deliver a large-scale greenhouse heating solution that would not rely on fossil fuels."
Inspired by the observation that water recycling plants expel tens of thousands of litres of clean warm water per second, at temperatures up to 25oC, the solution was designed to capture the heat energy wasted. "While using waste heat from the air, ground and water is nothing new, using water from waste recycling plants is. This innovation marks a development in heat pump technology that will support the electrification of heat, and make low carbon heating more accessible to large energy users in areas of dense population across every sector."
The scale of the project presented a unique design challenge, while the global pandemic created additional logistical issues. Among them: the procurement of the heat pumps from Northern Italy, the heart of Europe’s outbreak." In the midst of nationwide lockdowns, a tremendous cross-border collaborative effort secured their delivery in March 2020.
Nowadays, two heat exchanger buildings capture 72MW of waste heat from nearby water recycling facilities and transport it 2.5miles to the greenhouses. Gas-fired CHP units provide the electricity for the heat pumps, while providing the necessary CO2 to feed the plants in the greenhouse.
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