River Tyne could heat new homes in Newcastle, council told

Image source, Hi Track Aerial Photography

Image caption, The project designs could be ready by the end of 2025, the council’s climate change committee heard

  • Author, Daniel Holland
  • Role, Local Democracy Reporting Service

The River Tyne could be used to provide heat to a major Newcastle development.

City leaders are exploring plans that would see water from the river used to heat new homes and businesses earmarked for the Forth Yards site.

The council’s climate change committee heard how the Tyne could play a critical role in delivering a low-carbon district heating network to an area crucial to the city’s future growth.

Council energy specialist Adam Karimian said such schemes take a “long time” to develop, but he hoped the designs could be ready by the end of 2025.

The proposals could see water taken from the river and heat energy extracted from it, before the water is then returned to the river, to deliver heating and hot water to nearby buildings.

Such a scheme has already been installed in Jarrow, which has been hailed as a “groundbreaking” venture that could cut carbon emissions by more than 1,000 tonnes every year.

Meanwhile, a similar project in Gateshead uses heat from water pumped up from flooded coal seams to deliver hot water to 350 council houses, offices, Gateshead College and the Baltic.

‘Strict limits’

Councillors heard while a heat network using the Tyne would be expensive to install, it could prove more cost-effective in the long-run than using air source heat pumps.

The Forth Yards area to the west of the city centre behind Central Station is one of several locations identified as areas for district heat networks, where buildings are connected up to the same heat source.

The council would have to comply with “strict limits” set by the Environment Agency if the Tyne was used, the committee heard, meaning only three degrees of heat could be taken out of the water before it is pumped back into the river.

Using water pumped up from old mineworks is another option being looked at for parts of the city further away from the riverside.

He added: “The Coal Authority loves Newcastle, they keep emailing me about it. The technology has been proven across the river – it is the same seams and the same workings (here). (But) each project is evaluated separately.”

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