Star Renewable Energy wins Global Game Changer Award for its Glasgow heat-pump project

Star Renewable engineer Sara Patrick at Drammen heat pump room in Norway
Star Renewable engineer Sara Patrick in the Drammen heat pump room in Norway

Harvesting heat from rivers across the world was judged a “Global Game Changer” at a business awards ceremony at Glasgow Science Centre where the city’s Star Renewable Energy company won the Corporates for Good award.

With growing concerns about climate change and air pollution, the judges voted for the Scottish company’s technique which harvests heat from rivers using heat pumps.

A technique first proposed in 1852 by Lord Kelvin -but rarely adopted – uses the refrigeration cycle to cool down river water and in doing so extract heat, which is delivered at up to 90°C to replace heat achieved by burning gas.

The Scot-Govt’s Low Carbon Infrastructure Technology Programme is supporting such development in the Gorbals in Glasgow, which will see a system deployed to provide heat at the same or lower price than gas to a sports centre, business centre and housing but with less than half the carbon dioxide emissions and zero local NOx emissions.

NOx are usually associated with vehicle exhausts but a recent Greater London Authority report said that nearly 40% is actually from burning gas – confirming that gas boilers contribute to the reported 40,000 UK pollution-related premature deaths per year. 

The Glasgow based project will be the largest such system in the UK, and the largest since Star Renewable Energy installed its flagship project in Oslo, Norway in 2010.

David Pearson, Director, Star Renewable Energy, commented, “This is a welcome award ahead of a busy period in respect of the Gorbals project. This project is entirely viable because of the continued commitment of Scottish and UK Governments to a lower carbon society.

“There is a huge amount of support in programmes such as LCITP and the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) as we try to reduce our fossil fuel consumption by over 80% in the next 20 years.

“However, we must implement proposed changes in planning, taxation, pre-accreditation and tariff guarantee for large water source heat pumps and balance these support mechanisms with compelling drivers that see existing businesses driven to play their part in change.”

19 Sept 2017

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