The canals of the West Midlands may seem an unlikely source of warmth, but these waterways could soon be used to heat hospitals and tower blocks under a plan to harness Britain’s hidden heating sources. The government has promised to spend more than £20m on nine schemes across the country to exploit cheap, renewable heat from canals, old mineshafts and in London tube lines. It will spend another £70m to build some of Europe’s first plants to generate green hydrogen gas for homes and factories, including a project in Grimsby that will use the clean electricity generated by offshore wind turbines to make the low-carbon alternative gas from water. Kwasi Kwarteng, the minister for business, energy and clean growth, said cleaning up emissions from industry and housing was a big challenge, and an important part of “eliminating our contribution to climate change by 2050 while also growing our economy”. The government’s hunt for alternative renewable sources of heat has gained pace after ministers pledged to ban gas-fired boilers from newbuild homes from 2025. Officials estimate that the latest funding could provide a local renewable energy resource to 250,000 people by 2030, which would cut their energy bills by half while helping the UK to meet its climate targets. Birmingham’s canals have been picked to play a role in the UK’s green heating revolution by the same team behind a scheme that uses “waste heat” from the Northern line of the underground to warm hundreds of homes in Islington, north London. The consortium, led by London South Bank University and known as GreenSCIES, plans to use the government funding to grow its Islington project and install water source heat pumps in the canal, which runs through Sandwell near Birmingham.
Guardian 18th Feb 2020 read more »