Glasgow district heat network could reduce CO2 emissions by 160,000 tonnes

Glasgow, Scotland

Glasgow’s household waste could be used to generate heat for buildings in the city, a feasibility study on the potential to create a district heat network from a local Energy-from-Waste plant.

The Energy-from-Waste (EfW) facility Glasgow Recycling and Renewable Energy Centre (GRREC) is operated by waste management company Viridor on behalf of the City Council.

The facility currently sends enough electricity to the National Grid to power the equivalent of up to 26,000 homes, Glasgow City Council said.

The plant uses various processes to convert household waste into fuel that drives a turbine to produce renewable electricity.

The study estimates that the district heating system could reduce carbon emissions from domestic heating in the area by 81%, even with back-up gas boilers in place.

According to the study, the district heating system would require an estimated investment of £24.1m to build the pipe network and other facilities.

Throughout the 40-year scheme that would be required to attract the necessary investment, the Polmadie heating network could reduce CO2 emissions by 160,000 tonnes, Glasgow City Council said.

How we heat our homes and other buildings is one of the big challenges we face as the city tackles the causes of climate change.

Commenting on the feasibility study, Councillor Angus Millar, City Convener for Climate, said: “How we heat our homes and other buildings is one of the big challenges we face as the city tackles the causes of climate change.

“But this study shows conclusively that heat produced by the GRREC can be used to warm buildings across a wide area on Glasgow’s southside.

“The possibility of a district heating network sourced from the GRREC can also help to attract inward investment and create the infrastructure that can support for the push for net zero.

“The GRREC produces reliable heat and this study shows investors should be confident of a return on any investment. We are at an early stage with this initiative but we have grounds for optimism that using energy from waste to heat homes and other buildings is realistic and achievable.”

The feasibility study on the GRREC forms part of Glasgow’s Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategy, which identified 21 zones across Glasgow where the level of heat demand shows potential for viable district heating systems.

46% of Glasgow homes could heat their homes by connecting to a district heating network, the City Council said.

Other options for sources of energy for the proposed networks include extracting natural heat from the River Clyde by using water source heat pumps, drawing heat from deep geothermal wells, and tapping into the city’s waste water system.

Glasgow City Council said it is currently establishing a Green Investment Team that will be tasked with securing the £40 billion needed for the city to achieve net zero.

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