Oxford City Council wins £51,000 to continue heat network research

Posted on 18th October 2016

Oxford City Council has won a further £51,000 research funding after proving that there is a commercial case for installing a heat network under the city – and that it could reduce the city’s carbon emissions by more than 20 per cent.

The City Council has been investigating the possible benefits of installing a network of pipes under city centre and Headington areas to allow buildings to share highly-efficient methods of generating electricity and heat with neighbours.


The network would see businesses in the city centre able to heat their properties from the same high-efficiency boilers and CHP (Combined Heat and Power) plant – with renewable energy and waste heat potentially playing a role too.

The hope one day is to have a large network of heat pipes running under Oxford, heating homes via high-efficient methods and potentially by utilising excess heat from big heat users, such as local industry and the research laboratories.

It is thought that installing a heat network under Oxford could reduce carbon emissions by as much as 20 per cent – or more if renewable energy technologies are deployed. This would be the single biggest contributor towards Oxford reducing its carbon emissions that the City Council has the power to achieve.

But the project would not only cut the heat wastage and carbon emissions, it would also save residents and businesses about 20 per cent on their bills.

The feasibility study, which mapped the heat consumption of 195 buildings around Oxford city centre and Headington, found that there is a strong carbon reduction and commercial case for installing a heat network beneath the city centre.

The £136,000 study, largely funded by the government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change, also found there is scope for expanding the small proposed network to take in more of the city centre.

Now the government’s Heat Network Development Unit has given the City Council a further £50,750 to build on the feasibility study and undertake a Detailed Project Development phase.

This will see a detailed business case developed, including the mapping of power, gas and sewage pipes, preliminary energy centre design, exploration of any power network upgrades required, a review the opportunity to link the city centre project to other heat networks, and project quotations.

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