FVB expands in the UK

District heating is on the rise in the UK, and FVB UK is taking part in several large-scale projects. The goal is for ten times as much district heating compared to the current level to be installed by 2050. The main driving force for this growing market is the environmental benefits of district heating.

The British heating market mainly consists of mainly heating homes individually with natural gas or oil, but stricter climate requirements are aimed at eliminating fossil fuel energy sources and switching to green alternatives, which is when district heating becomes interesting.

"The first district heating systems were built in the UK in the 1950s, but due to a number of issued including poor design and installation the widespread use was not achieved, this was also coupled with the cheap fuel provided by North Sea gas. “District heating now accounts for only around 2–3% of the heating market," explains Peter Russett, CEO of FVB UK.

Rapid expansion
"The target that's been set now calls for district heating to account for 20-30% of the country’s requirements by 2050. I've seen figures that show expanding the network of district heating pipes alone to meet the target is going to run into hundreds of kilometres of pipe. So there's a lot that will have to be built over the next 30 years," states Peter.

Despite the low market share district heating has, there are actually a lot of systems installed in the country, but they are often small scale and generally use natural gas as the fuel source. The systems built in recent years and those at the planning stage are increasingly using heat pump technology, with natural gas for peak loads or reserve fuel.

The British government wants the district heating industry to decarbonise and support this through several initiatives, including financial support for feasibility studies and the conversion of projects to fossil-free fuels. The government is also behind The Green Heat Network Fund with aim of the fund being to support the commercialisation and construction of CO2-free district heating systems. The fund was established in 2022 and Peter Russet believes it will be crucial to the development of fossil-free heating in the UK.

"It's been very important since there has been so little private capital available for investments of this kind, but we have seen a change towards more commercial interest in district heating programmes," he says.

The increased interest in district heating is also evident to FVB, as we are now taking part in many more district heating projects after five years in the UK.

"The UK business has grown dramatically in the last two years, and looks set to grow by as much again next year. And that's thanks to orders from existing and new customers.

"Personnel numbers in the UK are also growing, although we do call on our Swedish colleagues for help in peak periods and when we need expertise we do not have here given that FVB in Sweden has over fifty years of experience with district heating, it’s a great resource to have supporting us." adds Peter.

FVB UK mainly works with three customer groups - local authorities, energy companies and developers/ installation D&B contractors. They are mostly engaged in the design and construction of district heating systems.

More efficient system
Peter Russett explains about a couple of projects FVB has provided design and consultancy services on. Meridian Water in north London is a project where FVB are responsible for the design of a new district heating system and hydraulic analysis working closely with installers, whilst in central London FVB are working on increasing the efficiency of an existing system.

"It's an interesting project involving the optimisation of an existing system to avoid building a new one," says Peter.

Another project of noteis in Cardiff, Wales, where FVB are responsible for working with their client to design sections of a new district heating network and providing technical support for installation of the system.

"It all looks good with growth in district heating and for our company in the UK," concludes Peter.

For more details, contact:
Peter Russett, +44(0)118 206 2920

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