Network Rail has recently announced that it is to team up with Birmingham City Council, Cofely and sustainability consultants, Anthesis-SecondNature, to install 1.5km of district heating pipework across Birmingham’s New Street Station.
The project – which links up to the city – will include a new combined heat and power unit, which will see heat exported to the Birmingham District Energy Scheme, in turn reducing the station’s carbon footprint.
Following a £600 million rebuild programme, which has transformed Birmingham New Street, the new-look station is now much larger than the old station and includes 31 escalators and 29 new lifts. These new facilities require more electricity than the previous station and therefore the introduction of new pipework is essential.
The combined heat and power (CHP) plant has been developed as the most economically viable way to create the necessary energy required for the station. By connecting the station to the Birmingham District Energy Scheme means excess heat produced by the station’s CHP plant can be pumped to offices and buildings around the station. These include the city’s new John Lewis store, as well as any new developments that are set to appear along the Southside.
The project marks the first time a CHP plant has been used in one of Network Rail’s managed stations. The plant offers considerable carbon reducing benefits, achieving better energy efficiency performance by reusing energy that would have otherwise been wasted. In addition, Birmingham New Street station will reduce its energy bills as well as achieve a lower carbon footprint per square metre, potentially cutting carbon emissions by up to 3,000 tonnes per year when combined with the wider scheme.