A dynamic smart energy network designed to supply sustainable energy to local business districts of the future is being trialled by London South Bank University and partners.

A feasibility study, looking at the design and creation of a fifth-generation district heating and cooling network that will supply sustainable energy to the local business districts of the future, has launched at London South Bank University (LSBU) last month following a meeting of the nine project partners.

The aim of the Green Smart Community Integrated Energy Systems (GreenSCIES) project is to deliver low carbon, affordable energy through a novel smart energy system that connects flexible electricity demands such as heat pumps and electric vehicles to intermittent renewable energy sources such as solar power.

The project has received £146,064 funding support from the Government’s modern industrial strategy, awarded by business innovation agency, Innovate UK, which is part of research coaltion, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

The six-month study will be delivered by a consortium of nine local business partners, including: LSBU (lead partner), Transport for London (TfL), Islington Council, Building Energy Solutions, Engie, Grid Edge, Carbon Descent Projects, Carbon Data Resources and E Car Club.

The study comprises nine individual packages of work with each partner taking the lead on an individual task:

  • Collection and analysis of project data will be carried out by Islington Council;
  • Technological and economic modelling will be carried out by environmental business consultancy, Carbon Descent Projects;
  • Capital cost analysis will be carried out by Building Energy Systems Ltd;
  • Business technology start-up, Grid Edge Ltd will devise an artificial intelligence solution for the smart energy network;
  • Management consultancy, Carbon Data Resources Ltd will look at all non-technological aspects of the project, identifying any barriers to the uptake of a fifth-generation energy network;
  • Green energy and Services company, Engie UK, will be responsible for the final design concept;
  • Low emissions vehicle hire company, E Car Club will assess the likely future consumer benefits to be gained through the impact of smart energy grids, increasing the use of electric vehicles.

Project Lead, Graeme Maidment, LSBU’s Professor of Air Conditioning and Refrigeration in the School of Engineering, said: “We are developing low carbon and low cost energy for the whole community, addressing fuel poverty and increasing investment in much needed low carbon infrastructure.”

Lilli Matson, Director of Transport Strategy at Transport for London (TfL), said: “We are pleased to be part of this innovative feasibility study to see how waste heat could help power local homes and businesses across London, cutting energy costs and reducing carbon emissions. This study is one of many important initiatives which will help the Capital deliver the Mayor of London’s goal of becoming a zero-carbon city by 2050.”

Claudia Webbe, Islington Council’s executive member for environment and transport, said: “For more than a decade, Islington has been pioneering and championing the development of innovative decentralised energy projects and heat networks.

“We believe they are the most effective way to deliver greener, cheaper and fairer energy to people living and working in Islington, whilst simultaneously tackling fuel poverty and reducing carbon emissions.

“GreenSCIES is a fantastic opportunity for Islington and London as a whole, to develop ground-breaking new research of international significance, examining fifth-generation district heating and cooling networks for even more efficient energy use.”

Once the feasibility study is completed, the partners will apply in open competition for funding to support the next stage of the project.