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IoR president calls for greater use of waste heat

UK: The new president of the Institute of Refrigeration has highlighted a need to harness currently rejected waste heat in order to achieve carbon neutrality in the built environment. 

In his inaugural speech last week, new IoR president Graeme Fox claimed that megawatts of usable heat were being rejected from cooling applications every year and called for a more collaborative approach between building services design consultants and refrigeration consultants. 

“We have approximately 41 million m3 of cold storage space in the UK according to the 2022 Cold Chain report, which equates to around 2 million kW hours of heat rejection, much of which is currently thrown away to atmosphere,” he said. 

“In simple terms that equates to around 200,000 homes worth of heating. How much social housing could be delivered with virtually free heating if we were to harness this rejected heat energy and convert it via localised heat pumps into district heat networks?” 

He questioned why we weren’t looking to recover more waste heat from supermarket fridges and freezers, for instance, and delivering it to those most in need?

“Megawatts of usable heat is being rejected from cooling applications every year and much of this could, with a little bit of joined up thinking, be recovered and used to supply heat for heat networks or social housing built near the non-domestic buildings,” he said. 

Fox suggested that building services design consultants need to work “more collaboratively” with the refrigeration consultants in order to harness currently rejected heat.

“Integrating the design of building services heating and hot water systems with one eye on the nation’s cooling load across so many types of estate; and building into that equation an increased use of renewable energy supplies and a greening of the electrical grid, offers opportunities for rapidly reducing our carbon consumption for our building energy needs.”

Graeme Fox is currently director of technical at the BESA Group and a previous president and board member of the European contractors group, AREA. He takes over as IoR president from Mike Creamer, who steps down after completion of his two-year term.

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