Sunamp signs agreement with Sheen Parkside to move heat across the UK

company Sunamp has signed an agreement with Sheen Parkside, an infrastructure arrangement and operations group, to work together on establishing mobile heat networks across the UK. These will use Sunamp's Plentigrade® phase change material technology in Central Bank container sized thermal batteries.

Heating with natural gas accounts for 37% of the UK's territorial carbon footprint. At the same time, the UK's low-carbon waste, biomass and nuclear thermal power stations today throw away 80 TWh a year of direct, accessible heat, at 90% lower carbon than gas. The main reason this heat isn't used, is that it's in the wrong place. This is an approach that's scalable around the world.

Moving heat by EV via rail and boat

Sheen Parkside and Sunamp will initially work with waste-to-energy plants, to either access spare heat, or retrofit these power stations to provide direct heat, known as Combined Heat and Power or CHP. This heat will be used to charge Sunamp's thermal batteries, holding multiple MWh each, which will then be transported by electric vehicles, rail or barge, to provide thermal energy for district heat networks, commercial and industrial users. Discussions are underway with several heat providers and users.

Sunamp has already produced over 20,000 thermal batteries, principally for domestic use, but increasingly for a range of industrial applications. These use Plentigrade®, a technology developed over an award-winning 15 year R&D project, with the University of Edinburgh. Over 250 patents have been granted and are pending, worldwide.

The Sheen Parkside team has already delivered some of the most challenging infrastructure and energy projects around the world, including the London Olympics and Crossrail in the UK. they have worked in senior leadership roles at Norton Rose Fulbright, a leading global law firm specialising in infrastructure and energy projects; Deloitte and the UK Treasury.

David Carter, Managing Director, Sheen Parkside, said: “Sunamp is the perfect fit for this project. Their heat storage technology is well established, world leading, and commercially proven. Combined with well-understood techniques for accessing heat by CHP, we can de-risk a simple, high impact and novel concept: moving low carbon, affordable heat in physical stores.

“This concept is something that Sunamp has been looking at across various projects, including moving heat generated by spare renewables capacity in Orkney, and moving heat by barge in Bristol. We plan to build on that technical know-how, with long experience of delivering first of a kind infrastructure projects at scale.”

Sunamp CEO Andrew Bissell said: “When we realised it could be possible to tap unused heat from “Energy from Waste” plants in Avonmouth and transport it by road, rail or barge to district heating in central Bristol, avoiding the costs of tens of miles of heating pipes and thousands of wayleaves, it opened up huge potential for new ways of tackling fuel poverty and decarbonising that can be replicated globally.

“There is worldwide potential to transport heat from industrial sources in containers using existing infrastructure such as road, rail, canal and short-sea networks, and to use it for heating and hot water in other residential and commercial developments. We look forward to working with the highly experienced team at Sheen Parkside to roll out the concept for the first time at scale in the UK and prove it for the world.”

  1. For heating / natural gas carbon footprint, see UK Energy Catapult figures. For relative carbon factors see UK government SAP 10 (Standard Assessment Figures), and BRE calculations for waste from energy CHP heat.

Published: 15 March 2023