Nottingham City Council Nottingham City Council Nottingham City District Heating

The district heating network in Nottingham is the largest in the UK and has been providing heat and hot water for three decades. Such is its success that it is held up as a “role model” of what can be achieved and has been toured by organisations and departments such as the Green Investment Bank, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)

“Nottingham is one of the largest district heating networks in the UK and one of the most established. It has proven the long-term viability of heat networks and proven to be a pioneering project which still stands as an example to other cities who are adopting this technology decades later. This is a project which changed the face of city-wide heating in the UK and Vital Energi are extremely proud to have played a part in it.”

Ian Whitelock Joint Managing Director, Vital Energi

Project Overview

The Nottingham District Heating scheme was originally managed by British Coal. Today it is managed by an independent energy services company (ESCO) Enviroenergy Limited, wholly owned by Nottingham City Council. Vital Energi are the preferred partner of Enviroenergy in continuing the development of the Nottingham District Heating Scheme.

The Challenge

Domestic and commercial waste is collected in Nottingham and is burnt at the Eastcroft Energy From Waste facility which generates up to 52 tonnes per hour of steam at 23.5barg 371oC. The steam produced at Eastcroft is piped 1.5kM to Enviroenergy London Road Energy Centre (ELREC) where it is converted to a medium temperature hot water system. It is then passed through a condensing extraction steam turbine to generate electricity and provide heat to the district heating network. Hot water is distributed to customers over an extensive pipe network that covers a large area of the city centre.

Enviroenergy has supplied electricity, hot water and steam to properties across the city centre for over 30 years. Customers include the new National Ice Arena, the Broadmarsh and Victoria shopping centres, the Inland Revenue offices beside the canal, the Nottingham Town Hall, Capital One’s UK headquarters and Nottingham Trent University as well as over 5,000 domestic consumers. 

Nottingham's heating network has been a constantly evolving project which has involved Vital Energi connecting many estates and building throughout the city, each with their own unique challenges.

Vital Energi's Solution

St Ann’s Housing Estate 

In 1995 Vital Energi employees carried out the design, supply and installation of carbon steel pre-insulated pipework which was 52km in length. The whole system replaced and upgraded the existing system which supplies heat and hot water to the housing estate serving up to 5,000 homes and many of the city’s public buildings. Diversions were also implemented on sections of the network scheme whilst some of the houses were being redeveloped. Today, this scheme still remains the largest District Heating mains project performed in a single project and was completed ahead of schedule in approximately 26 weeks.

Ransom Road Estate   

The Ransom Road estate project required Vital Energi to provide the design, supply and installation of new carbon steel pre-insulated pipework which would upgrade the old system. Vital Energi employees worked with the Utilities and Traffic Management companies to ensure minimal disruption whilst excavating and reinstating the road surfaces. Vital Energi’s resources and capabilities allowed for effective project management which meant that activities were coordinated with the residents. This meant that residents were informed well in advance of 24 hour network closures to connect the houses to the internal pipework. Ransom Road Estate is an example of how Vital Energi provides a liaison officer to be the first point of contact for the residents regarding any issues they might have. The Vital Energi employees were dedicated to solving issues and providing support for the residents and tenant groups during the network replacement scheme.

Knoll Pharmaceuticals connection 

Vital Energi were contracted to carry out the design, supply, installation and commissioning of a 10 barg steam connection from Enviroenergy EC to the Knoll pharmaceuticals building. The steam supply was taken from the existing 10barg supply system. A metering system was provided at the entry to the Knoll site for energy billing. This £2million pipe network project was a steel in steel system where a vacuum between the outer pipe and the inner carrier pipe provided effective insulation. This system is a particularly specialist system that required care in the design as well as consideration of the condensate. The majority of the pipework was buried underground through the streets of Nottingham and included crossing London Road, the busy main road that runs through the centre of Nottingham. The scope of the works also included the connection into existing services at the point of delivery at the Knoll Pharmaceuticals building.

Contemporary Arts Building

In 2006 Vital Energi was contracted to replace and upgrade a section of the primary main pipework that provides heat and hot water to a large area of the city and runs through Nottingham City Centre from the London Road heat station. The primary main pipe section was situated underneath the new Contemporary Arts Building which was at the time, under construction. As a diversion in the primary main pipe was not possible, Vital Energi’s designers worked alongside the architects on the development to construct a duct way for the replacement pipe to run through. To maintain quality levels Vital Energi installed a surveillance system within the pipework to continually monitor for any damages or leaks. This was then followed by a connection to the Contemporary Arts Building to provide heat and hot water.

Canal Diversion Project 

In 1998 Vital Energi were responsible for the design, supply, installation and commissioning of a 10 barg steam connection from Enviroenergy EC to the Boots Pharmaceuticals building. The £1.5million scheme not only involved the associated mechanical work of installing 800 metres of pipe but also required the pipework to run over the City’s canal. Vital Energi provided the solution for this civil engineering issue and expertise allowed Vital Energi to construct and install a bridge for the pipe to run along. The new bridge was installed under the existing bridge which was a challenge that Vital Energi overcame by using the best resources and expertise. Once the old bridge was removed Vital Energi provided a pedestrian footpath to run along the new bridge. 

Conclusion

Vital Energi’s commitment to provide safe, reliable and energy efficient district heating schemes has resulted in the design, supply and installation of circa 85km of pipe in and around Nottingham City Centre. The continuity of high quality service and innovation has allowed Vital Energi to become the preferred partner of Enviroenergy’s urban district heating regeneration scheme.

Benefits:

  • 85km pipework
  • 5,000 domestic customers and 100 commercial customers
  • 27,000 CO2 savings a year
  • Specialist Pipework