CHP project meets great expectations in Portsmouth

Carbon emissions are being reduced by over 840 t a year following the installation of a CHP scheme serving some 5000 properties in Portsmouth, including hoses, bungalows and high- , medium- and low-rise blocks of flats. The Charles Dickens District Heating Scheme is also expected to reduce annual fuel bills by about £120 per household on the Buckland estate to the north of the city centre. The scheme is part of the Government’s Community Energy Programme (CEP), created to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases and combat fuel poverty. The Portsmouth project was awarded £435 000 of CEP funding. It started with two medium-rise blocks with 154 flats and was later extended to a further 384 flats and other buildings, including a primary school and leisure centre. Launched in January 2002, the £50 million CEP supports the refurbishment and installation of community heating schemes across the UK and aims to cut carbon emissions by 150 000 a year. A team of consultants, suppliers and specialist contractors was brought together through a collaborative working charter. Vital Energi, as a leading provider of community heating/CHP, PB Power as a leading engineering consultancy in providing community heating and social-housing contractor United House signed up to the charter, which provides a partnering framework based on open-book accounting, performance targeting, measurement and benchmarking. The initial feasibility study in Portsmouth by PB Power recommended a community heating scheme to replace the aging communal gas heating and underfloor heating. Vital Energi undertook the detailed design and installation of the scheme. At its core is an energy centre with a 500 kW(e) gas-fired CHP unit. The heat produced is used to provide hot water 24 hours a day, every day of the ear. Vital Energi also installed a new pre-insulated underground heat-distribution network using Alstom Power FlowSystems pre-insulated piping. The distribution network uses Band Muff fusion-welded joints to reduce the number of joints needed and extend the life of the pipework from 30 to 50 years. A surveillance system identifies potential leaks and reports faults to within a metre. The accuracy and predictive nature of the system enables the operator to intervene before problems occur, dramatically reducing the overall maintenance cost and downtime, as well as disruption to the supply of heat and hot water. The interface in 538 flats will be provided by Vital Energi’s Aqua-Varm heating and hot-water units. They provide immediate, replenishable heat and hot water.
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