Energy partnership scoops £25k government grant

A fuel poverty specialist with offices in Leeds and South Tyneside, has been awarded a £25,000 government grant to develop a new support system for low carbon heat technologies.

Community Interest Company, Community Energy Solutions, in partnership with Newcastle University and Northumbria University, have been allocated the funds after coming top in a national competition led by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

The Advanced Heat Competition, which ran in partnership with the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), was launched by DECC as a result of the marked increase in low carbon heat technologies, such as air source heat pumps, which it predicts will put pressure on the mains electricity grid should their use in households across the UK continue to climb at the current rate.

Applicants in the competition were invited to submit ideas of how heat storage systems could be used to lessen this impact and spread demands on the grid away from peak times in the day.

The joint bid submitted by CES, Newcastle University and Northumbria University proposed using a specially designed 300 litre cylinder containing phase change materials (PCM), which are capable of storing and releasing large quantities of heat by shifting from solid to liquid.

After being assessed on a range of criteria, including its technical performance, cost, scalability and feasibility for use in UK homes, this proposal was awarded the highest overall score in the competition and earned the partnership a £25,000 government grant.

Working in continued collaboration CES, Newcastle University and Northumbria University, will now use these funds to carry out a feasibility study on their PCM-based idea and test it in a laboratory setting over the next two months.

The results from these experiments will be submitted to the DECC in late December, as part of the second stage of the Advanced Heat Competition.  Applicants who successfully pass this phase will then be awarded further funds to develop a prototype of their idea and test it in residential properties.

Tom Shepherd, project manager for Community Energy Solutions, said: “This is a fantastic result for the team at CES, Newcastle University and Northumbria University whose hard work on the proposal has already been rewarded with a top ranking result. 

“Now is where the hardwork really begins and we’ll be starting immediately on the lab-based experiments in order to hone our ideas and hopefully pave the way for success in the next round of funding.”