Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

How heating our homes could help reduce climate change

27.09.2010
A radical new heating system where homes would be heated by district centres rather than in individual households could dramatically cut the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions.

In a series of reports to be presented at a major conference this week, scientists at The University of Manchester claim using sustainable wood and other biofuels could hold the key to lowering harmful greenhouse gases.

Building district heating schemes which would provide heat and hot water for a neighbourhood or community would not only drastically reduce greenhouse gases but would also be highly cost effective, the authors claim.

Focus groups to test the UK public’s eagerness for such schemes have already been held and have resulted in the majority of people being in favour of the localised centres.

The plans would only provide cost savings if the heat demand is very steady. Otherwise large scale dedicated electricity plants become the most cost effective way to save greenhouse gases with biomass, with costs per unit of carbon saved around half that of a smaller facility.

The reports state that using wood in UK power stations gave greenhouse gas reductions of over 84% and even higher savings of 94% were possible for heating schemes.

Prepared by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research to highlight the effectiveness of using sustainable fuels rather than rely on fossil fuels, the series of reports will be presented this week at the UK’s first bio conference – BioTen – which begins in Birmingham today (Tuesday 21st).

Author Dr Patricia Thornley suggests using a number of supply chains, including imported forest residues and local grown energy crops, would reduce emissions and save on fossil fuels.

The key is that biomass must be grown sustainably, taking into account potential for damage to the environment or undesirable socio-economic impacts.

Previous work by University of Manchester researchers took this into account in concluding that sustainable biomass could supply at least 4.9% of the UK’s total energy demand.

Realising that potential could result in savings of 18 Mt of carbon dioxide every year, which is equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions associated with around 2.7 million households.

Dr Patricia Thornley, from the School of Mechanical Aerospace and Civil Engineering at The University of Manchester, said: “Bioenergy could play a very important part in helping the UK meet greenhouse gas reduction targets that will help to reduce the impact of climate change.

“Heating homes with wood reduces greenhouse gas emissions because plants and trees absorb carbon dioxide when they are growing and then re-release it when they are burnt for heating – so the only increase in greenhouse gas emissions are those involved in things like harvesting and processing the fuel.

“This work has taken a detailed look at all those emissions and established that even when we take them into account, there are still huge greenhouse gas savings to be made.

“If we can combine the low-carbon wood with really efficient heating systems, that offers an efficient and cost-effective route to reducing the greenhouse gas emissions.

“The challenge for the industry now is to concentrate on developing new efficient and cost-effective technologies for biofuel production and to concentrate on getting the heating technologies deployed in the right environment.”

Notes for editors
Dr Thornley is available for interview on request.
The papers, Assessing the sustainability of bioelectricity supply chains and Cost-effective carbon reductions in the Bioenegy sector are available from the Press Office.

The Tyndall Centre, created in 2000, is a distributed national centre for research into climate change mitigation and adaptation, with Manchester leading on decarbonisation of energy systems and long-term coastal processes.

For media enquiries contact

Daniel Cochlin
Media Relations
The University of Manchester
Tel: 0161 275 8387
email: daniel.cochlin@manchester.ac.uk

Daniel Cochlin | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.manchester.ac.uk

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Global threat to primates concerns us all
19.01.2017 | Deutsches Primatenzentrum GmbH - Leibniz-Institut für Primatenforschung

nachricht Reducing household waste with less energy
18.01.2017 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>