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What are the options?

As part of our research we talked to more than 20 experts, ranging from international engineers to smaller sustainable energy specialists. It became clear that the best fit option for heating and hot water in Shoreham is likely to involve ground source heat pumps.

An Invitation to Tender (ITT) was sent to a shortlist of 8 consultants. This asked for technical, economic and planning appraisals of potential solutions for the village.

BHESCo, working with RINA, was confirmed by the Parish Council as the preferred consultants to carry out the Feasibility Study. Brighton and Hove Energy Services Co-operative (BHESCo) is a not-for-profit social enterprise with considerable experience of working with village communities on sustainable energy projects. RINA Tech UK Ltd is a large international engineering firm. They will be supported by specialist hydrogeologists.

These specialists will be assessing the most viable heat sources and temperature options for Shoreham on our behalf.

Heat sources

Ground source heat pumps (as described here) in a closed or open loop system are likely to work well for Shoreham. An intriguing possibility raised by one engineer was to also assess making use of waste heat from the sewage pipe running from Sevenoaks to the processing plant at Dartford. Holding mostly waste water from washing machines, showers etc, the pipe runs underground through Shoreham. It is possible that heat energy from this source could be used to boost the temperature of the water from bore holes.

Temperature options

The water flowing through the network could be tepid (ambient) or hot.

Hot: if central heat pumps are used, the temperature of the water coming up from the ground can be raised to about 50-60°C. Circulated through insulated pipes to each building on the network, the heat can be used directly via a heat exchanger to warm existing radiators and provide hot water.

Ambient: if tepid water is circulated directly from the surface to premises on the network, each building would have its own heat pump to raise the temperature to a useful level.

BHESCo has also been asked to provide advice on options for premises outside the centre of the village where it may not be viable to access the heat network directly.