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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S001417/1
Title: Integrated Infrastructure for Sustainable Thermal Energy Provision (IN-STEP)
Principal Investigator: Loveridge, Dr FA
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
ECOME Ingeniere Geotechnik Adam GI Energy
High Speed Two HS2 Ltd IFSTTAR University of Melbourne
Department: Civil Engineering
Organisation: University of Leeds
Scheme: EPSRC Fellowship - NHFP
Starts: 29 June 2018 Ends: 28 June 2021 Value (£): 583,108
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Energy Efficiency Ground Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Construction
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
08 May 2018 EPSRC UKRI CL Innovation Fellowship Interview Panel 5 - 8 and 9 May 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Since the turn of the century there has been a reduction in UK energy independence. While this trend has recently started to reverse, there is still a pressing need to further increase energy independence, as well as continue reduction in total consumption, and work towards becoming a carbon free energy nation. The Climate Change Act 2008 mandates the UK government to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by at least 80% (based on 1990 levels) by 2050. In total, domestic, commercial and industrial heat provision in the UK accounts for around one third of all greenhouse gas emissions and 40% of energy consumption. Hence tackling heating (and cooling) for all buildings is essential for addressing the energy problem.

One energy efficiency solution which must play a future role in both demand reduction and decarbonisation is ground thermal energy storage. Such systems typically comprise some form of ground heat exchanger connected to a heat pump and a low temperature building heating delivery system (and/or higher temperature cooling delivery system). Traditional schemes use special purpose drilled boreholes as the ground heat exchanger, but since the 1980's building foundations developed as ground heat exchanger have also been used. Foundation ground heat exchangers are now becoming more common place, but there remains significant opportunities to use other underground structures for heat transfer and storage, thus contributing to the delivery of sustainable heating and cooling for overlying buildings. Retaining walls, tunnels and water/waste water pipes can all potentially be used as so called energy geostructures, where they exchange and store heat as well as performing their original structural function.

However, despite a number of trials, most of these energy geostructures are a long way from routine adoption. Rigorous assessment of both their energy potential and how they are constructed is lacking. There are no routine design guides or standards and where schemes have been, or are being developed, they usually involve expensive and complicated analyses typically conducted in collaboration with a university partner. There are challenges in terms of energy assessment and further barriers to adoption in the requirement for adjacent consumers of the supplied energy. There is also a need for a heat/cool distribution network to reach the consumers which may not be currently in place. This proposal will tackle the challenges relating to routine implementation of energy geostructures, including design, construction and heat/cool delivery. This will encourage future adoption and help the development of the UK ground energy market.

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Organisation Website: http://www.leeds.ac.uk