A cutting edge project using waste heat to power Middlesbrough’s public buildings has been launched – with James Cook Hospital first in line to reap “significant” savings .

The £40m Middlesbrough District Energy Scheme will use excess heat from nearby industry and two energy plants with the aim of reducing the £4.5m a year energy bill at the hospital.

Backers then aim to roll out the project elsewhere in the town.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen was confident “phase one” of the joint project between the Combined Authority, health bodies, Teesside University and Middlesbrough Council would be ready in the next two years.

He said: “The long term vision is to use this excess heat not only in public sector buildings but in homes and businesses and using it to massively reduce energy bills.

“The ultimate long term goal is to link up the whole of the town and other urban centres to the network – we are talking decades in the making of a comprehensive district energy scheme.”

The first phase of the scheme aims to save 8,000 tonnes of carbon emissions at James Cook Hospital and slash energy bills.

South Tees NHS energy manager Julian Verity said the hospital spent £4.5m a year on heating and powering the site and explained its existing 20-year-old gas plant was coming to the end of its life.

He added: “It was the ideal opportunity to work with the TVCA to see if there was anything we could do together to increase our efficiency.

“This new plant on the site will allow us to generate our own electricity.”

The hospital uses 75 million kilo-watt hours a year whereas an average home uses about 16,000 kilo-watt hours.

Rather than being lost into the atmosphere, waste heat from Teesside industries would be channelled through a network of pipes to complement the hospital’s energy supply.

It will also see a change in Teesside’s skyline as the hospital chimney comes down.

Mr Verity said couldn’t put a number on the savings yet but stressed they would be “significant”.

The town centre project, led by the Tees Valley Combined Authority, received a £218,000 boost from the government to get up and running.

It is now entering the “procurement stage” for a contract to construct and operate the scheme.

Its backers hope this will see “pipes in the ground” in the next two years.

Mayor Houchen said the project would suit the number of industries which produce excess heat around Middlesbrough.

He added: “This scheme could save the NHS a tonne of cash on heating, which would then be invested in front-line patient care. It’s a win-win for business, taxpayers and the environment.

“We’ve seen countries such as Denmark take advantage of these schemes and all of the benefits they bring. This is yet another step in our ambitious drive to become a high-wage, low-carbon economy.”

Siobhan McArdle, chief executive at South Tees NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We’re leading the way in the NHS when it comes to energy saving and environmental improvements, and this proposed heating initiative will not only help us deliver long term sustainability, but deliver financial savings that can be re-directed to providing care to our patients.”

© 2018 Tees Info

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