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Power transformers as heat network ‘boilers’ project

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SSE Energy Solutions and National Grid have started a project that could help to decarbonise heat networks by capturing waste heat from electricity transformers to generate hot water and space heating for homes and businesses.

It is estimated that the heat recovery project will initially reduce heat network carbon emissions by more than 40% versus traditional gas-led systems. The technology offers a route to net zero heat when applied to transformers served by 100% renewable electricity from wind or solar farms.

The project has the potential to save millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide each year if rolled out across National Grid’s network of transformers across England and Wales, transferring this waste heat via SSE heat networks to serve towns and cities, say the two companies. 

Managing Director at SSE Energy Solutions Nathan Sanders said: ‘Electric power transformers generate huge amounts of heat as a by-product when electricity flows through them. At the moment, this heat is just vented directly into the atmosphere and wasted. By their very nature, transformers are primarily located where people live, work and consume energy meaning that they have the potential to be incredibly valuable community assets if we apply a bit of clever thinking.’

Image: SSE Energy Solutions

News Item details

Journal title: Energy World

Subjects: Heat, Energy from waste, Carbon emissions, Decarbonisation,

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