The Balanced Energy Network (BEN) project, featuring Cranfield University, has won The Engineer’s ‘Collaborate to Innovate’ Energy and Environment Award.

A Balanced Energy Network is a new form of district heating that circulates water at near ground temperature to each building on the network to allow each building to use its own heat pump to extract heat for heating, or to reject heat when it needs cooling.

The BEN project consortium led by ICAX Limited features Upside Energy, Origen Power, Mixergy, London South Bank University and TFGI, alongside Cranfield.

As part of the project Cranfield academics are working with Origen Power to develop a fuel cell calciner to enable electricity to be generated in a way that removes CO2 from the atmosphere.

Vasilije Manovic, Professor of Carbon Systems Engineering at Cranfield University, who leads on Cranfield’s work on the BEN project, said: “We are delighted to receive this award alongside our partners. One of the key strengths of the project is the collaboration between the different organisations and it is fantastic for this to be recognised by the judges.

“Balanced Energy Network is a truly innovative project that can replace traditional district heating systems enabling people to save energy, save costs and save carbon.”

Mark Hewitt, Director of ICAX Limited and the lead and coordinating BEN project partner, said: “This was a very ambitious project, requiring sustained collaborative effort by all Partners to explore and develop the various technology strands, and bring the project to a successful conclusion. We are delighted that this project has been a success, and that it has been a useful platform for many partners to grow their skills and businesses.”

Tim Kruger, founder of Origen Power, said, “”We’ve always felt that the true strength of this potentially game-changing project has been the combined expertise that the different partners were able to bring to it and we are very grateful that The Engineer has recognised that with this award.”