Water source heat potential added to National Heat Map

New data on rivers, estuaries, canals and coastal sites

26 March 2015

The National Heat Map, the interactive heat-demand map which was built by CSE in 2010, has been expanded and improved with the addition of four 'water source heat potential' layers featuring 4,000 rivers, estuaries, canals and coastal sites across England.

These can be used to explore suitable locations for water source heat pumps that together could provide over six gigawatts of low-carbon heat to communities.

You can read the National Heat Map project profile here

The image below shows the National Heat Map with the rivers, esturies and coastline layers switched on. The colours refer to the heat capacity, i.e. how much heat can be extracted from each.

The upgraded Heat Map was launched in London on 25 March by Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Ed Davey, who said "We need to make the most of the vast amount of clean, renewable heat that lays dormant and unused in our rivers, lakes and seas."

Commissioned by DECC, the hydrological and energy modelling work was undertaken by the engineering firm Atkins, and by specialists Wallingford Hydro Solutions. The results were provided to CSE, where they were formatted, visualised and integrated into the National Heat Map by our research team.

Josh Thumim says "The successful addition of water source heat potential demonstrates that the Heat Map continues to evolve and improve in ways that support the planning and deployment of local low-carbon energy projects in England."

DECC says that a million properties across England could in future be heated by water source heat pumps which are currently used effectively in many domestic and non-domestic buildings across the UK, typically in areas not heated by mains gas. They work on a similar principle to fridges and air conditioners, using an electrically powered heat exchanger to extract latent heat from water, air or the ground – the major benefit of the technology is that in the appropriate settings, the heat output of the system can be significantly greater than the electrical input – up to four times greater in some cases. And if the electricity comes from a renewable source like a solar panel, the heat produced is zero-carbon.


Click here to open the National Heat Map in a new window


'Heat pumps: an introduction' is the most-viewed of all our PlanLoCaL videos. Click here to watch it.

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