Low Temperature Heat Recovery and Distribution Network Technologies (LoT-NET)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: Sch of Engineering


Lot-NET considers how waste heat streams from industrial or other sources feeding into low temperature heat networks can combine with optimal heat pump and thermal storage technologies to meet the heating and cooling needs of UK buildings and industrial processes. Heating and cooling produces more than one third of the UK's CO2 emissions and represent about 50% of overall energy demand. BEIS have concluded that heat networks could supply up to 20% of building heat demand by 2050. Heat networks have previously used high temperature hot water to serve buildings and processes but now 4th generation networks seek to use much lower temperatures to make more sources available and reduce losses. Lot-NET will go further by integrating low temperature (LT) networks with heat pump technologies and thermal storage to maximise waste and ambient heat utilisation.

There are several advantages of using LT heat networks combined with heat pumps:
- They can reuse heat currently wasted from a wide variety of sources in urban environments, e.g. data centres, sewage, substation transformers, low grade industrial reject heat.
- Small heat pumps at point of use can upgrade temperature for radiators with minimal electricity use and deleterious effect on the electricity grid.
- Industrial high temperature waste can be 'multiplied' by thermal heat pumps increasing the energy into the LT network.
- By operating the heat network at lower temperatures, system losses are reduced.

Heat source availability is often time dependant. Lot-NET will overcome the challenges of time variation and how to apply smart control and implementation strategies. Thermal storage will be incorporated to reduce the peak loads on electricity networks. The wider use of LT heat networks will require appropriate regulation to support both businesses and customers and Lot-NET will both need to inform and be aware of such regulatory changes. The barrier of initial financial investment is supported by BEIS HNIP but the commercial aspects are still crucial to implementation.

Thus, the aim of LoT-NET is to prove a cost-effective near-zero emissions solution for heating and cooling that realises the huge potential of waste heat and renewable energies by utilising a combination of a low-cost low-loss flexible heat distribution network together with novel input, output and storage technologies. The objectives are:
1. To develop a spatial and temporal simulation tool that can cope with dynamics, scale effects, efficiency, cost, etc. of the whole system of differing temperature heat sources, distribution network, storage and delivery technologies and will address Urban, Suburban and Exurban areas.
2. To determine the preferred combination of heat capture, storage and distribution technologies that meets system energy, environmental and cost constraints. Step change technologies such a chemical heat transport and combined heat-to-power and power-to-heat technologies will be developed.
3. To design, cost and proof of concept prototype (as appropriate) seven energy transformation technologies in the first two-three years. They consist of both electrically driven Vapour Compression and heat driven Sorption technologies. Priority for further development will be then given to those which have likely future benefits.
4. To determine key end use and business/industry requirements for timely adoption. While the Clean Growth Strategy and the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund initially support future implementation, innovative business models will reduce costs rapidly for products or services that customers want to buy and use. Thus, engagement with stakeholders and end users to provide evidence of possible business propositions will occur.
5. To demonstrate/validate the integrated technologies applicable to chosen case studies. The range of heating, cooling, transformation and storage technologies studied will be individually laboratory tested interacting with a simulated netw

Planned Impact

Beneficiaries of this research include a range of different industries, government and policy makers, academia, and the general population.

Infrastructure and construction firms will benefit from the growth in district heat installations that this research will encourage due to improved economic viability.
Identification of suitable sites for low temperature heat networks using low/zero carbon heat sources will enable heat network operators to expand the number and range of their sites and activities increasing revenue and employment.
Building operators and owners will benefit from lower cost heat supplies and the availability of summer cooling.
Companies and organisations with waste/excess heat available will be able to benefit by selling their heat to the network and improving their environmental sustainability.
Manufacturing companies that fabricate the new products and systems, for capture, distribution, storage and transformation will benefit from a sustained long term economic opportunity.
Companies able to undertake maintenance of the developed systems and components will have growing portfolios with increased deployment

Government and policy makers
National and local government and policy makers will benefit from the major contribution that LotNET's outputs will have towards achieving a sustainable affordable low carbon economy. The technology and knowledge developed will play a major role in achieving the fourth and fifth carbon budget targets. Policy makers and regulators seeking economically and technically viable solutions to the long term challenges of heating and cooling of buildings will have a feasible option identified to reduce the emissions resulting from heating and cooling UK homes and businesses.

The General public will benefit from the social and economic benefits and significant reduction in carbon emissions. Lower cost heating and cooling will enable indoor environments in buildings to be maintained more cheaply and make more buildings healthier places to live and work. Energy poverty will be significantly reduced in areas in which low temperature cost effective district heating systems can be installed. The development, manufacture and deployment of the new technologies and systems will create employment and export opportunities for the UK.

Researchers and Innovators
Researchers and Innovators in academia, industry and government, both in the UK and abroad, will gain from the breakthroughs made at a systems level through our multi-disciplinary approach to sustainable energy systems and in individual discipline areas. This includes researchers working both in the areas immediately related to heating and cooling and those engaged in the wider energy research field including economics, policy and social inclusion.
Description Smart Energy Networks of the Future 4th July 2019 hosted by Islington Council 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Programme and speaker:

Welcome from Cllr Claudia Webbe, Executive Member for Environment and Transport, Islington Council
Why low-temperature networks are important in the future. Bob Critoph, LoT-NET
GreenSCIES: a feasibility study of a fifth-generation district heating and cooling integrated smart energy network in London. Rodrigo Perez Matabuena, Islington Council
Secondary heating and cooling opportunities in cities. Joanna Kuleszo, Project Luster
The future potential of local smart energy networks David Elmes Warwick Business School
Lessons learned from current smart energy projects. Tanja Groves, Sweco.
Case Study from Islington: How heat networks can deliver social, environmental and financial benefits to a local community. Francis Ugboma, Head of Energy, Islington Council
Creating bankable energy assets in London's South Bank. Rajvant Nijjhar, Bankenergi
Available funding for heat networks. Joel Hamilton, BEIS, Heat Network Delivery Unit
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://ior.org.uk/about/sirach/sirach-past-events
Description Smart Energy Systems- An International Opportunity. 28th August 2019 at the 25th International Congress of Refrigeration in Montreal Canada 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Workshop agenda:
Welcome and introduction - Graeme Maidment, London South Bank University
The potential of heating and cooling in the EU's pathway to decarbonisation - Andrea Voigt, EPEE
Canmet ENERGY and KIER joint work on smart heating and cooling - Eny-Joon Lee, Korea Institute of Energy Research
Green smart community-integrated energy system - Akos Revesz, London South Bank University
Panel Discussion with the speakers
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://ior.org.uk/about/sirach/sirach-past-events
Description Thermal Systems of the Future - Joint T-ERA and SIRACH meeting 23 January 2020 at the University of Birmingham 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talks as follows:
Welcome and introduction - Graeme Maidment, London South Bank University
Introduction and overview of ERA and T-ERA. Prof. Martin Freer
Phase change material (PCM) based thermal energy storage (TES). Prof. Yulong Ding, University of Birmingham
Thermal energy storage and solar thermal systems. Prof. Phil Eames, Loughborough University
Sustainable bioenergy systems. Prof. Patricia Thornley, Aston University
Sustainable thermal energy technologies. Prof. Bob Critoph, University of Warwick
Transforming our approach to waste heat. Sam Hinmers, Warwick University
Systems-level integration and future integrated thermal systems. Jon Williams, Energy Systems Catapult
Business innovation in sustainable thermal systems. Brian Churchyard, Senior Manager for Construction Design Standards, Asda
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://ior.org.uk/about/sirach/sirach-past-events