World News

Industry news and insights from Europe and around the World

UK News

Latest news and developments in the United Kingdom


Keep up-to-date with the latest new products and technology


General articles, applications and industry analysis

Daikin and Hitachi get Smart in Wigan

9120801_lUK: A Japanese consortium, including air conditioning, heat pump and ICT manufacturers Hitachi and Daikin, is to go ahead with its Smart Community Project in Greater Manchester.

The two manufacturers and the Japanese Mizuho Bank are to commence the demonstration phase of a project which will see the delivery of Japanese cutting-edge technologies including heat pumps and information and communication technologies (ICT) with the intention of helping to transform energy usage in the UK.

The £20m Smart Community Project has been spearheaded by Japan’s New Energy Development Organisation (NEDO) which carried out a feasibility study last year. The project will now move to a three-year demonstration phase running from this April to the end of March 2017.

As part of the feasibility study conducted from June to December last year, the consortium investigated UK energy systems and regulations, interviewed stakeholders including social housing corporations and power distributors and held joint studies with local stakeholders.

In the demonstration phase, traditional gas-fired boilers in around 600 social housing properties will be replaced with electric or hybrid heat-pumps, and an aggregation system will be introduced to control the heat pumps in each social housing property. This will facilitate coordination of the electricity usage at each property. At the same time, the consortium will aggregate the coordinated electrical power and investigate its ability to balance the power supply-demand dynamics of residential power users.

Hot water tanks will be also installed with the heat pumps and residential heat retention functions to assess the impact on the capacity, thereby evaluating the feasibility of demand response.

Demonstration phase

About 600 Daikin electric and gas hybrid heat pumps will be installed in social housing properties in Wigan, Bury and Greater Manchester area with high thermal insulation as load-balancing capacity. Last year’s feasibility study is said to have confirmed that fuel costs might decrease if existing gas-fired boilers are replaced with heat pumps under controlled conditions.

Hitachi will join with Daikin in developing an aggregation system by which the power requirements of more than one electricity account can be combined and using the electricity supply market to get a better price for power. The idea is that all members of an aggregation pool would benefit from lower prices made possible by a large economy of scale.

The consortium will also look at a means of remotely controlling heat pumps while maintaining consumers’ comfort. The project will evaluate the impact of external factors such as home insulation and consumer demographics, such as family structure and lifestyle patterns, on power consumption and the balancing of power supply against demand.

“It’s essential we develop cleaner and greener energy systems to deal with issues such as climate change and also that we find cheaper ways of heating our homes to tackle fuel poverty,” commented Lord Peter Smith, chair of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

“This scheme is good news for the environment and good news for hard-pressed families fed-up with sky-high energy bills,” he added.

Greg Barker, Minister for Energy, commented: “This is an excellent example of how Britain is attracting investment into the renewable energy sector. New innovative technology is helping to make more homes warmer, while cutting energy bills for hardworking families, and contributing towards the UK’s long-term economic plan for jobs and growth.

The project will start in April to be completed by March 2017. The Japanese organisations will invest approximately £22.2m in delivery of the programme, whilst Greater Manchester will also invest in its network infrastructure and improving the insulation levels of the homes involved in the programme.

Latest News

26th February 2024

Brian Streatfield 1936-2024

UK: Brian Streatfield, a man who was instrumental in the formation of Carrier in the UK during the 1970s, died at the weekend. He was 87.
25th February 2024

Safety is vital in global F-gas transition

UK: Institute of Refrigeration president Graeme Fox has warned of the real-world issues that the “rapid transition” to “natural” refrigerants poses for developing countries.
25th February 2024

Terrie Lamb wins lifetime achievement award

UK: Terrie Lamb of Cimetrics was recognised for 25 years of dedication to the RACHP sector in a night of awards at Thursday night’s annual Institute of Refrigeration (IoR) dinner.
25th February 2024

Boosting EV range with microwave energy

UK: Researchers from the University of Birmingham are working on an energy storage system which couples a chemical heat pump with microwave energy to produce heating or cooling on demand.
25th February 2024

Home heat pump install for newly-trained engineers

UK: A UK charity is proposing to give newly trained heat pump installers an air-source heat pump to install in their own home.
23rd February 2024

Hoshizaki acquires 25% stake in Fogel

PANAMA: Japanese refrigeration equipment manufacturer Hoshizaki has acquired a 25% stake in Fogel Company Inc, a manufacturer of commercial refrigeration equipment based in Republic of Panama, for US$28m.