Battersea Power Station, one of London’s most iconic landmarks, supplied power to the capital from the 1930s until its decommissioning in 1983. It is now at the heart of one of central London’s largest, most visionary and eagerly anticipated new developments. We have been working with the developers for several years as lead designers to create a solution that would provide heating, cooling and electricity for the entire Battersea Power Station site, including Circus West Village.
Battersea Power Station, one of London’s most iconic landmarks, supplied power to the capital from the 1930s until its decommissioning in 1983. It is now at the heart of one of central London’s largest, most visionary and eagerly anticipated new developments, which will turn the 42-acre former industrial brownfield site into a new town centre with homes, shops, restaurants, offices, a new tube station with an extension to the London Underground Northern Line, and over 19 acres of public space.
Circus West Village, the first phase of the Battersea Power Station redevelopment, opened in 2017 and is quickly becoming one of the capital’s most exciting riverside destinations, with its eclectic mix of independent and design-led bars, restaurants and shops. We have been working with the developers for several years as lead designers to create a solution that would provide heating, cooling and electricity for the entire Battersea Power Station site, including Circus West Village.
Our solution entails the construction of a district heating and cooling network and a 73,000 sq ft basement energy centre, which will be split over two levels. At full build, the energy centre will have a total heating capacity of 42.75MW, cooling capacity of 30MW and electrical capacity of 7.3MW. This is generated from two 2MWe CHP engines, one 3.3MWe CHP engine, three 10MWth gas-fired boilers, seven 60m³ thermal stores and six 4MW chillers, making it one of the largest energy centres we have worked on.
Located at the front of the power station to incorporate iconic chimneys into the solution
The client requested that the iconic Battersea Power Station play a role in the modern day energy generation in some way. We had to be mindful of this when designing a location for the energy centre, and agreed to place it near the chimneys, which would house the new flues at the front of the power station.
The energy centre is located in the building’s basement, with two floors being excavated below ground level to provide the space necessary to cater for all the large equipment. Another benefit of this location was that it would be hidden from sight from the residents and allowed the developers to maximise all ground space to construct residential properties, retail units and green spaces.
The energy centre has also been acoustically protected to reduce sound pollution. This was particularly important because in order to comply with planning, we must make sure that the energy centre’s sound levels are very low.
As the energy centre is underground, a ventilation solution was needed. We designed large openings in the ground floor to provide a free area for supply and extracting fumes, along with plenums located above the energy centre.
One of the largest energy centres of its kind in the UK
Due to the scale of the development, an energy centre spanning around 73,000 sq ft is necessary to hold all the plant required. As the physical size of the energy centre’s components are so large, when combined together they required the space of two levels. Likewise, due to the space needed for the energy centre, the most feasible option would be to place it in the basement rather than a standalone building in order to maximise the site area.
The energy centre is split into zones and levels, which provide the heating, cooling, electricity generation, electricity distribution, heating and cooling distribution, water treatment and bore hole extraction all from the same building. The only exception is the existing energy centre from the first phase, which will no longer provide heating and hot water individually, but instead will be connected to the main energy centre to provide additional resilience to the network.
We have increased the efficiencies of the solution by designing a bore hole extraction area, which will capture water from below the ground to be treated in our water treatment tanks and utilised in the system. This minimises the necessity to use water from the national network.
Design of a phased solution to overcome challenges related to the increase of energy demand
Our solution has been tailored to the growth of the overall development to increase in scale and add additional infrastructure and building connections as they are constructed. This allows for energy to be available only when demand is required to provide a more efficient solution.
This was achieved by analysing the heat profiles to create a design which could cater for the growing load and applying a flexible approach to adapt to the changing nature of the development. The energy centre plant will be installed in two phases: phase 1 includes two 2MWe CHP engines, two 10MW boilers and three 4MW chillers; and phase 2 includes the remaining one 10MW boiler, one 3.3MWe CHP engine and three 4MW chillers. As the plant had to be installed by lowering through demountable sections in the roof of the energy centre and down the two levels, it was essential that the future plant could also utilise this route. We had to be considerate of this factor when designing the pipework and ventilation systems inside the energy centre to avoid this area for the future plant installations.
Bringing the iconic chimneys of Battersea Power Station back to life through innovative design
The North East and South West chimneys have been adapted to be utilised by the energy centre’s flues. The North East chimney will be used by the main energy centre and the South West chimney will be incorporated into the existing energy centre with a new flue installed by us. The chimneys will have been refurbished and rebuilt by a third party to match the historical features of Battersea Power Station and make them structurally sound. They are visually identical to the originals that had to be dismantled due to the extensive damage caused from when they were in operation. We will then adapt them internally with gantries and platforms to support the structure of the flues, which in turn removes the necessity to construct additional separate flues. The exhaust flues for the boilers and CHPs will rise up the building using the wash tower and then through the existing chimneys in a total length of 960m, to once again make Battersea Power Station a generator of energy.