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The potential for heat recovery and thermal energy storage in the UK using buried infrastructure

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Ross Stirling, Dr Anil YildizORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Institution of Civil Engineers Publishing, 2022.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Dispersed space heating alone accounts for 40% of UK energy use and 20% of CO2emissions. Tackling heating and building cooling demands is therefore critical to achieve netzero ambitions in the UK. The most energy efficient way to decarbonise heating and cooling isthrough the use of ground source heat pumps and district heating technology. However, capitalcosts are often high, sometimes prohibitively so. To reduce investment costs, it is proposed touse buried infrastructure as sources and stores of thermal energy. Barriers to this innovativeapproach include lack of knowledge about the actual net amount of recoverable energy, andimpacts on the primary function of any buried infrastructure, as well as the need for newinvestment and governance strategies integrated across the energy and infrastructure sectors.Additional opportunities from thermal utilisation in buried infrastructure include the potentialmitigation of damaging biological and/or chemical processes that may occur. This paperpresents a first assessment of the scale of the opportunity for thermal energy recovery andstorage linked to new and existing buried infrastructure, along with strategic measures to helpreduce barriers and start the UK on the journey to achieving of its infrastructure energypotential.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Loveridge F, Schellart A, Rees S, Stirling R, Taborda D, Tait S, Alibardi L, Biscontin G, Shepley P, Shafagh I, Shepherd W, Yildiz A, Jefferson B

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Smart Infrastructure and Construction

Year: 2022

Volume: 175

Issue: 1

Pages: 10-26

Online publication date: 14/04/2022

Acceptance date: 08/04/2022

Date deposited: 25/04/2022

ISSN (electronic): 2397-8759

Publisher: Institution of Civil Engineers Publishing


DOI: 10.1680/jsmic.21.00018

ePrints DOI: 10.57711/ybj6-xe67


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