How the River Tyne will help to heat homes and buildings on Tyneside

A multi-million pound renewable energy scheme on South Tyneside will use water from the River Tyne to heat homes.

The Viking Energy Network, at Jarrow, uses heat generated from the River Tyne and converts it into energy that will be used to heat buildings owned by the local council.

The project is a first of its kind and aims to cut carbon emissions by over 1,000 tonnes every year by using the river water as a clean and readily available source for energy.

The groundbreaking district heating system will supply hot water to a range of buildings, including high-rise flats, schools, and sheltered housing on Tyneside.

Councillor Tracey Dixon, Leader of South Tyneside Council, has welcomed the completion of the site and said it would save the authority "over 1,035 tonnes every year in carbon emissions".

How it works:

The process involves water being extracted from the River Tyne at around ten degrees.

It is then transferred to a heat pump and compressed to a useable heat of around 70 degrees.

That water is sent through around two kilometers of pipework to deliver heat to a range of buildings owned by South Tyneside Council.

Among the buildings now heated by the renewable energy source are Jarrow Focus leisure centre, three blocks of flats, Jarrow Business Centre and Jarrow Town Hall.

The solar farm on site will provide much of the electricity to power the heat pump, helping the site to be nearly carbon neutral in the summer months and working towards the council's target of carbon neutral by 2030.

Cllr Dixon added: "In South Tyneside, the green agenda is very much the focus of everything we want to do, so to have this here in South Tyneside, the Jarrow Energy Network, the first of its kind because of the technology that it uses, it is so exciting for us.

Paul Quinn is contracts manager at Colloide, which has been leading the project. He believes the innovative network will be rolled-out across the country.

He said: "It's the way forward. You'll see a lot of councils going this way.

"We have solar panels installed that will provide not only the energy to run the heat pump and the equipment in the energy centre but extra power will also be used to help power the buildings belonging to the council as well."

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