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Heat network study

What heat networks are

Heat networks supply heat from a central source or sources to homes and businesses through a network of insulated pipes carrying hot water. This means that individual homes and businesses do not need to generate their own heat on-site. The heat can come from a variety of sources including waste heat from industrial processes and renewable heat from the air, ground and water extracted using a heat pump. Using waste and renewable heat allows the carbon content of the heat to be significantly reduced.

As a country we spend £32 billion a year on heating and it accounts for around a third of our greenhouse gas emissions.

The opportunity

For businesses with high heat use connecting to a heat network could reduce heating costs, and could significantly reduce carbon emissions. Companies producing waste heat may be able to generate an additional revenue stream through injecting this into a heat network. Residents connecting to a heat network may receive cheaper and lower carbon heat when compared to a gas, oil or solid fuel appliance.

Heat from mine workings

We are working with Bristol City Council to discuss how heat from mine workings could integrate with heat networks in Bristol. We are also looking at how mine heat would integrate with the ‘Strategic Heat Main’ which is being considered for the transport of ‘waste’ heat from Avonmouth and Severnside to Bristol, via Filton and Patchway, and other heat networks being considered for South Gloucestershire.

For more information read our briefing note.

Summary of our heat network studies

South Gloucestershire and Bristol City Councils have been awarded funding to conduct a series of studies investigating the potential for developing heat networks to distribute waste heat from the energy generators and industrial plants of Avonmouth-Severnside to energy consumers in the enterprise area, South Gloucestershire’s urban fringes and in Bristol city centre.

South Gloucestershire Council and Bristol City Council are partnering with the West of London Waste Authority (WLWA), and SITA on these studies amongst a range of other partners. SITA manage the Energy from Waste (EfW) plant at Severnside, which generates power from combustion of refuse derived fuel supplied by the WLWA. The plant is a source of low carbon waste heat which is included within our study.

Avonmouth-Severnside – Heat Mapping/Master Planning

The heat mapping and master planning element of this work is now completed and the accompanying reports are now available.

A further study was completed to understand the opportunity to encourage businesses with a high energy demand into the Avonmouth-Severnside Enterprise Area. The final report from this Heat Network Development Enabling study is now available.

Cribbs and Patchway New Neighbourhood (CPNN)

This study is now complete and the final report available.

Avonmouth-Severnside Strategic Heat Network Development Study (2017)

This most recent study looked in further detail at the Strategic Heat Network and it identified a variety of key heat sources with a total annual heat output in excess of 40MWth (based on average consumption, enough heat for nearly 30,000 homes).

The study considered a number of potential routes for the strategic heat main in terms of technical viability, network length, network heat losses and network capital costs, and the impact of complex infrastructure crossings and structures. This analysis included an assessment of heat demands, peak demands, pipe sizes, diameter and length, heat losses, ground conditions, routing through publicly owned land i.e. highways, land in the public realm, and physical barriers.

The Executive Summary for the Avonmouth/Severnside Strategic Heat Network Development Study (2017) is available in the Downloads section on the right hand side of the page.

For further information please email

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