A hybrid energy centre at Wirral Met College has an integrated heating and electrical supply solution that provides 65% of electricity and almost all of the campus’ heating and hot water needs by using Sunamp thermal storage batteries.

Installing low-carbon thermal storage alongside gas turbines and Lithium-ion batteries 

Supplying majority of heating and hot water needs for the college campus, cutting energy costs by 40%

Reducing site-wide carbon emissions by 18%

The challenge

The Wirral Met College for Further Education in Birkenhead has around 3,000 students and was looking to lower its energy demands while playing its part in reducing the city region’s carbon emissions.

The college was the first public institution to benefit from a multi-million pound regeneration programme for the town and used some its allocated funding for a new, low-carbon co-generation energy centre.

The solution

The energy centre has a hybrid set up with two 65kWe Capstone gas turbines, two 64kWh Sunamp phase change material thermal storage batteries and 134kWh TESVOLT Lithium-ion batteries.

The thermal batteries, along with the Lithium-ion batteries, store energy during periods of low demand and supplement the heating and electrical systems when demand is high. This allows the college to maximise the electricity generation of their gas combined heat and power (CHP) units and have the flexibility to balance the system by quickly releasing stored energy when needed.

The benefits

Energy costs are down by 40% when compared with before the college’s co-generation energy centre was installed. The college intends to invest the resulting financial savings in mentoring students.

The hybrid set up has also reduced the site’s carbon emissions by 18%.

What is more, the thermal batteries take up less space in the plantroom as they are 70% smaller in volume than the equivalent traditional hot water cylinders.

One of the Sunamp thermal batteries in the college’s plantroom.

“It is important that we embrace technologies that will make our environment cleaner, greener and more sustainable. I cannot think of a better place to create a ‘world first’ than Wirral Met College of Further Education and we are now embedding this technology into learning for students.”  

Sue Higginson

Chief executive and principal, Wirral Met College

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