Birmingham District Energy Scheme

Excavation works in Chamberlain Square

The works that most of us will have encountered in the City Centre are the implementation of the Combined Heat and Power system. This puts to use by-product heat that historically has been wasted by allowing it to escape to the environment.

What is the Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system?

The CHP in the Broad Street area consists of a gas-fired engine to generate 1.6 megawatts (MW) of electricity. This generation process produces heat which is normally wasted. But, in this CHP the heat by-product is used to provide heating, chilled water (using a technique termed Absorption Refrigeration) for air conditioning, and hot water.

The system drastically reduces harmful CO2 emissions and, in the Birmingham system, emissions will be reduced by a very significant and worthwhile 4000 tonnes p.a.

There are two other CHP schemes – Aston University and Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Together these will save 12000 tonnes of CO2 a year.

What will use the heat energy captured?

The outputs of the system will provide energy to buildings such as the National Indoor Arena,  the International Convention Centre, the Hyatt Hotel, the Repertory Theatre, the Library of Birmingham, Paradise Circus, The Council House,  the Town Hall, and New Street Station.

Why are there works in the City Centre?

The trenches hold insulated pipes delivering hot water. These connect the Broad Street and Aston University schemes as well as supplying buildings along the route, eg New Street Station.

Who is responsible for and delivering the scheme?

The scheme is being developed by the City Council’s Urban Design service in partnership with Cofely District Energy Ltd which is delivering the system.

Urban Design was awarded a grant to develop the scheme under the Government’s Community Energy programme. Cofely runs the Birmingham District Energy Company (BDEC) that will finance all capital works needed to develop the scheme. It will design and operate the CHP plant, supplying energy services at discounted rates.

Article by Geoff Caine

Links to other articles on this are listed below in (US) date sequence.

Newsletters that  tell the story

Previous Newsletters are listed below.There are 12 of these dating from April 2014 – download links for these are provided.

They provide an intriguing insight into what is going on and why , detailing the problems encountered and explaining why some excavations have had to be reopened when they appear to have been completed.

They are short and to the point and only take a second to download.

Well worth a read! All of them.

Clicking on a News Letter will download it to your computer – then click on the downloaded file to display the News Letter.

In date sequence, oldest first:

BNSS – News Letter 001 – Chamberlain Sq

BNSS – News Letter 002 – New Street

BNSS – News Letter 003 – Victoria Square

BNSS – News Letter 004 – New Street

BNSS – News Letter 005 – Victoria Square

BNSS – News Letter 006 – New Street

BNSS – News Letter 007 – Victoria Square – New Street

BNSS – News Letter 008 – New Street – High Street

BNSS – News Letter 009 – Chamberlain Square – New Street

BNSS – News Letter 010 – New Street – High Street

BNSS – News Letter 011 – Chamberlain Square

BNSS – News Letter 012 – New Street

5 thoughts on “Birmingham District Energy Scheme

  1. David Foster

    I think we now know, from the later newsletters, that they have used tarmac because they are going to be getting back into the same holes in the New Year. As I recall, they couldn’t finish the job this time because they needed special pipes which couldn’t be obtained in time.

  2. Margaret Lister

    Thanks for all this. You have been very busy on behalf of the citizens of Birmingham! All very interesting but I wish they would not put tarmac down when they finish an area. (ie. Victoria Square/New Street) Probably replacing all the bricks is more time consuming & expensive? Margaret

  3. C. Matthews

    There is still scope for massive savings & environmental benefits, for both public & private buildings. As a minimum, all public buildings should have solar panels on their roofs. I understand that there are also glass systems for windows which harvest solar energy. All rooms in public buildings should have PIR devices, to switch off lights when there is no-one present. Temperatures for heating systems should be set at the legal minimum.

  4. Geoff Caine

    I assume by “information notes” you mean the News Letters. I think we should ask Cofely for their plans saying that it will help City Centre Residents to be more understanding of the disruptions being caused and give support to the enterprise.

  5. David Foster

    It’s good to learn more of the background to the pipe-laying works; in particular why some areas have to be re-entered. It seems that there will be more of this in the New Year.
    Personally I would have found these information notes more understandable if there was also a summary of the different phases frequently referred to. Obviously the Cofely people understand these very well, but will all of the intended readers be as well informed?

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