The UK Government have demonstrated their commitment to reducing CO2 emissions by updating “The Climate Change Act 2008” to ensure all greenhouse gas emissions are Net Zero by 2050. As a result, the Northern Ireland Assembly have planned to increase renewable electricity generation from 32% to 70%, by 2030. This target can only be reached through utilising renewable technology or reducing energy consumption.
Belfast City Hospital is a 32-acre site located south of Belfast City Centre. The existing central boiler house at the hospital had exceeded its usable life expectancy. A number of engineering consultants were originally approached to execute an initial feasibility report but it was IN2’s design for the phased refurbishment and conversion of the existing boiler house that led to our successful appointment. Our original concept was to design a modern fit for purpose Energy Centre on the site of the existing BCH Boilerhouse.
IN2 proposed incorporating 18.5MWth of duel fuel LTHW gas-fired boiler plant and two 2.7MWe Gas-fired CHP units, together to meet the thermal and electrical demand. A new thermal and electrical distribution network would also be installed from the New Energy Centre location consisting of an LTHW pipe network.
IN2 investigated the feasibility of using a large-scale commercial C02 based Heat Pump solution that would use create heat and chilled water using low-cost, off-peak electricity from the grid. There was an extensive information-gathering process resulting from on-site surveys and the analysis of consumption data, this enabled an accurate real-time picture of how energy on the site was used. This analysis had confirmed that substantial operational savings could be achieved by replacing the entire BCH steam network with a modern thermal system with increased system efficiencies and lower operating temperatures.
The enhanced benefit of “de-steaming” the hospital site and lowering the system operating temperature is that it becomes feasible to thermally integrate heat pump technology. Along with other benefits which reduced health and safety risks, environmental impacts and maintenance costs.
Working in a live environment meant it was challenging to complete the new heat pump installation, whilst keeping the steam plant operational and maintaining heat to the live hospital environment. The existing steam distribution system was surveyed in-depth, particularly whether it was feasible or technically possible to replace the steam plant serving the entire hospital without significant loss of service.
To achieve business continuity the new LTHW pipework system will be installed in parallel with the existing steam pipe network to ensure that the steam network and the new LTHW network can remain live simultaneously.