Low carbon heat for the Three Graces

A low carbon district heat network could be expanded to include the world famous Three Graces on Liverpool waterfront after £6.2m was secured from the Government. Tony McDonough reports

Pier Head, Liver Building, Three Graces, waterfront
The Three Graces could be included in the low carbon district heat network


A low carbon district heat network supplying homes and businesses on Liverpool waterfront could be extended to include the city’s world famous Three Graces.

Peel NRE, part of Peel L&P which owns the multi-billion pound Liverpool Waters development, has started building the district heat network, called Mersey Heat, to supply low carbon heat and hot water to more than 9,000 homes and 4m sq ft of commercial space at Liverpool Waters. 

In February 2021 Peel NRE won planning consent to build an energy centre at Great Howard Street. Using water source heat pumps and thermal stores, Peel NRE says the heat network will save around 4,200 tonnes of carbon a year.

Now it has secured more than £6.2m in Government funding to investigate expanding the network to include Liverpool’s Three Graces buildings – the Royal Liver Building, Cunard Building (home to Liverpool City Council) and the Port of Liverpool Building. It was also surrounding properties at the Pier Head. 

Totalling £6.2m, the grant has come from the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy and has been secured in partnership with Triple Point Heat Networks Investment Management.

It will help to fund one of two 3MW low-carbon heat pumps, the first of which will be a water source heat pump at the energy centre. The Grade II-listed George’s Dock Building and the Museum of Liverpool, which opened in 2011, will also be included in the designs for the heat network extension. 

More than 2.5km of pipework for the 4.1km network has already been installed. Apartments at the newly-converted Tobacco Warehouse at Stanley Dock are already receiving heat from the network. They are soon to be followed by The Titanic Hotel and Southern Warehouse and Liverpool Waters’ Princes Parade. 

Construction work for Peel NRE’s energy centre to serve Mersey Heat is expected to start on site early 2022. Carbon savings will be achieved through the primary use of water source heat pumps and thermal stores capable of holding 260 cubic metres of hot water.

Heat-only gas boilers with up to a combined capacity of 40MW will act as a back up and for use during times of peak demand. The funding for Mersey Heat will come from the £320m Heat Networks Investment Project (HNIP) fund.

Jonathan Burley, commercial director at Peel NRE, said: “Mersey Heat supports national and local targets to achieve net zero and we’re pleased to receive further funding to help roll-out the network on a larger scale.

“The addition of large historical buildings like the Three Graces would make a high-profile impact on reducing Liverpool’s carbon footprint and we look forward to working with the buildings’ owners and our district heat network specialists Ener-Vate to progress these designs.”

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