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BLOG: Low-Carbon Heat Exhibition shines light on hidden heat technology

Posted on 29/07/2019 by Nick Sharpe

It lurks behind cupboard doors, in cellars and plant rooms across Scotland.

While light bulbs, now powered in Scotland by 74% renewable electricity, blaze out against the darkness, the technology that keeps us warm hides in the shadows.

Today, that technology is likely to be fossil-powered: gas for those lucky enough to live on-grid; oil or even coal (blog) for those in rural areas.

The future, though, will be different – and now’s the time to shine a light on the innovative new technology which’ll keep Scotland cosy into the 2020s and beyond.

Heat pumps take warmth from ground, air or water, use a small amount of electricity to compress it and provide heat to humans in offices, homes and public buildings.

In the Borders, Scotland’s first heat from sewage system uses a heat pump to extract warmth from underground waste water and uses it to provide low-carbon warmth to students in Galashiels.

Solar thermal uses the sun’s rays in a similar way. Even Scotland’s notoriously dreich skies provide fodder for these panels; for too long electricity-generating PV’s silent cousin.

Biomass CHP turns wood into gas by heating it to more than 800C, then uses that gas to produce renewable, low-carbon heat and electricity.

And across Scotland, locally-grown timber is chipped and burned to fire gigantic district heating systems, warming (among other things) more than 700 high-rise flats in Glasgow and Floors, Scotland’s largest inhabited castle.

All these technologies are, for the most part, hidden from public view.

Our Low-Carbon Heat Exhibition, which opens this week at the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, was conceived to shine a light on the low-carbon heat technology of the future.

No longer should heat pumps, biomass boilers, CHP engines and solar thermal languish in cobwebbed cupboards.

This hidden technology can hold its head up in a dramatic new exhibition in the ECCI’s staircase gallery, itself home to low-carbon heat devices and electricity-generating PV panels.

It’s time to be proud of what we’ve achieved so far in low-carbon heat – and admire the technology which can take us on the journey to our target that 50% of all energy (heat, electricity and transport) will come from renewables by 2030.

  • Scottish Renewables’ Low-Carbon Heat Exhibition, at the ECCI (High School Yards, Infirmary Street, Edinburgh EH1 1LZ) is open to the public between 8.45am and 4.45pm Monday-Friday until September 30.

  • The exhibition is sponsored by Turner, SHARC Energy, Natural Power, Vattenfall, Ramboll and Brodies. Photographs by John Linton and Jose Vega-Lozano/Aerial Vision.

  • For more information, and to hear about our work on low-carbon heat, contact Nick Sharpe, Scottish Renewables’ Director of Communications, by email or on 0141 353 4984.

Nick Sharpe

Director of Communications