Water Source Heat Pumps

Water source heat pumps (WSHPs) offer a versatile, highly efficient alternative to fossil fuels, taking heat energy from a variety of water sources, such as the sea, lakes, large ponds or boreholes, to provide you with a reliable energy source for heating and hot water. They can also be used for cooling too.

Vital Energi Water Source Heat Pumps

What is a Water Source Heat Pump?

A water source heat pump extracts latent heat from the sea, rivers & lakes, or an underground water source via a borehole. Water is pumped into the heat pump where the latent heat is used to compress a refrigerant in the majority of systems, known as a Closed Loop System. This compression increases the temperature of the refrigerant, which then transfers heat into the distribution system. In an Open Loop System, the water from the source is used in the heat pump.

Delivering Commercial Heat Pump Projects

At Vital, we specialise in large-scale applications of heat pumps, which are relatively new to the UK. We have successfully installed the UK’s largest water source heat pump at Queens Quay, Clydebank, which will see two 2.65MW heat pumps extract energy from the River Clyde, to provide heat and hot water to surrounding homes and businesses. We are also delivering a retrofit heat pump project in Southwark where heat will be extracted from water using ‘open loop’ supplied Water Source Heat Pumps and when completed, the technology will become the primary heat source for the heat, supplying low carbon heating to 2,175 homes on the Consort, Newington and Wyndham housing estates.

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How does a water source heat pump work?

Water Source Heat Pumps take the heat from a water source, such as a river or the sea and, using a refrigerant, boost the temperature to create low temperature hot water, which can be as hot as 85°C. This can then be distributed through district heating pipework to provide heating and hot water for new build and retrofit premises.

Whilst the concept is relatively straight forward, the design, installation and operation and maintenance of them is an extremely specialist area. We can work with you from the concept design and energy modelling stage through to the long-term asset management.

As the size, connections and intricacies of these systems vary, water source heat pump costs can range from several thousand, to multi-million pound installations. If you’d like to discuss your project, please contact our team who will be happy to help.

Pioneering Water Source Heat Pumps In The UK

Vital Energi worked with West Dunbartonshire Council to deliver the Queens Quay water source heat pump project which, at 5.3MW, is the first large scale scheme of its type in the UK.  The project is now live and delivering low-carbon heat to surrounding premises and, when complete, the energy centre will serve almost 2,600 buildings.

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