Image source: The Guardian

National Grid and SSE to use electricity transformers to heat homes

UK: Thousands of homes could soon be warmed by the heat from giant electricity grid transformers for the first time as part of new plans to harness “waste heat” and cut carbon emissions from home heating.

Trials are due to begin on how to capture the heat generated by transmission network transformers, owned by National Grid, to provide home heating for households connected to district heating networks operated by SSE.

Currently, hot air is vented from the giant substations to help cool the transformers that help to control the electricity current running through National Grid’s high-voltage transmission lines.

However, if the trial succeeds, about 1,300 National Grid substations could soon act as neighbourhood “boilers”, piping water heated by the substations into nearby heating networks, and on into the thousands of homes that use SSE’s services.

“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,” said Nathan Sanders, the managing director of SSE Energy Solutions.

The energy companies believe the scheme could initially reduce heat network carbon emissions by more than 40 % compared with fossil gas systems.

The first trials have begun at National Grid’s specially designed testing site at Deeside in Wales to establish how the waste heat could be used in district heating networks. Once complete, the intellectual property will be shared with smaller regional electricity network owners, which may choose to roll out schemes in their areas.

 

Source: The Guardian