The feasibility reports for the three projects were submitted to the Scottish Government in April, and now the three projects are looking for funding for further development into the detailed design phase and stakeholder commitment.
“All three projects can provide benefits to their communities in the form of low-carbon, low-cost heat, and in my view they are all worthy of further support”, says Paul Steen, who is Ramboll’s project manager.
Paul Steen says that the differences between the three projects are technical and related to stakeholders.
At Banchory in Aberdeenshire the ground consists of granite, which results in a higher water temperature. As opposed to other locations with similar geographical conditions, Banchory has a community quite close to it, which makes it an obvious candidate for supplying warm water for a district energy network.
Also, Banchory already has a district heating network that the geothermal project can feed into, so this makes it quite unique. To make the geothermal project work though, more load needs to be connected to the system by extending the system to the centre of the town of Banchory.
The Guardbridge site is a former paper mill site now owned by the University of St Andrews, which is redeveloping the site as a centre of technical innovation. The University of St Andrews has already established a biomass boiler generating district heating, and the geothermal project would supplement the existing capacity and would feed heat to the industrial site. The technical uniqueness of this project is the potential for a combined district heating and cooling system to cover the university’s significant demand for cooling as well as heating.
Outside the industrial site there is a small residential community, which would potentially also benefit from heat supply from a district heating network.
The Fortissat area is a former coal mining community with high levels of fuel poverty and extensive local authority owned social housing. The high degree of permeability caused by the old coal mines underneath the geothermal site offers lots of opportunities to tap into the ground water and use that to supply low-cost heat to the strained community through a district heating network.
On all three projects Ramboll developed the conceptual design for converting the water coming from the geothermal sites at different temperatures into a useful form of heat that can be delivered to the customers in the three communities. Moreover, Ramboll did an outline design of the heat network and provided cost estimates. Economic modelling was done for all three projects, and for the Guardbridge project a full economic assessment was made.
Ramboll has substantial experience in district energy, having provided consulting services to more than 200 district heating systems worldwide ranging from small village schemes to city-wide transmission networks. In the UK, Ramboll has a team of 15 people working on projects such as the development of a district heating network at Wembley, a masterplan for Edinburgh BioQuarter and design of a district heating system and energy centre for Greenwich Peninsula.
The three reports, which were prepared in collaboration with lead partners Cluff Geothermal and HOBESCO (Banchory), the University of St Andrews (Guardbridge) and the James Hutton Institute (Fortissat), are available at the Scottish Government’s website: