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Ground-breaking project set to STEP up campus energy supplies

Posted 25 August 2016

The heat will be distributed via an underground super insulated pipe network, which will be nearly 3.5km long."

Estates Manager Paul Moran said the STEP project would make the university self-sufficient for 75 per cent of its electricity needs and 80 per cent of heating.

Work is under way at Harper Adams University to deliver a ground-breaking new energy system that should ultimately provide 80 per cent of the campus’s heating needs and 75 per cent of its electricity. 

STEP, which stands for Sustainable Transformation: Energy Project, should significantly reduce the carbon footprint of Harper Adams University and provide energy security for the future. 

Estates Manager Paul Moran said: “The project is unique in that it integrates a range of different technologies, to address the electrical and heating demands of the University and also demonstrates how rural communities can become self-sufficient and provide local solutions to energy needs.”

“The project will include 650KW (Kilowatt) of photovoltaic panels, which will be installed on the large roof areas of dairy buildings on the university farm. These panels create electricity using solar energy.  The electricity will primarily be used across the whole campus, with some being exported to the grid at the weekend when our electrical consumption is lower. 

“In addition, we will be installing a 1MW (Megawatt or 1000 kilowatt) biomass boiler, which will use locally sourced woodchip as a fuel to create hot water. The hot water will be used across the campus to heat buildings, hot water for washing and to heat our swimming pool.

“The heat will be distributed via an underground super insulated pipe network, which will be nearly 3.5km long. The boiler and the panels are considered renewable because they do not utilise fossil fuels and these technologies will contribute to the reduction in our carbon footprint as part of a range of measures we are implementing as part of our carbon management plan. 

“We are also installing a combined heat and power unit, which will use natural gas to create electricity and heat, to supplement the other technologies. Although it’s not renewable, this is considered a low carbon technology because it’s a very efficient and responsive way to create energy. 

“Work has started to prepare the site for the scheme, including the digging of trenches to lay the pipe network. But we have carefully scheduled the work to cause minimal disruption. 

“In addition, some existing operations are being rehoused to allow the STEP scheme to progress, hence the recent planning application to relocate some of our renewable energy research technology.”

 

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