Armstrong Integrated Provides Pumping Power for Newcastle Biomass District Heating Scheme


A major biomass project in Newcastle has come to fruition with the help of packaged intelligent pump solutions from Armstrong Integrated. The resulting scheme is expected to save 1,054 tonnes of CO2 per annum and alleviate fuel poverty for residents in one of the most deprived areas of north east England.

Armstrong Integrated Provides Pumping Power for Newcastle Biomass District Heating Scheme

Armstrong Integrated

As part of a large scale development of the Riverside Dene Estate (formerly known as Cruddas Park), six tower blocks have been remodelled to create 550 flats achieving the Government’s ‘Decent Homes Standards’. The project involved the creation of a sustainable district heating scheme to assist residents in the area – many of whom were experiencing fuel poverty.

The solution, supplied by Vital Energi, is a highly efficient £1.7 million bespoke wood-fuelled biomass scheme providing low carbon heat and hot water. The fuel handling system is designed so that any increase or decrease in demand for hot water and heating automatically changes the speed that the wood chip fuel is supplied to the boiler, ensuring that the biomass boiler can always perform to the required output.

The existing energy centre in Cruddas Park was modified by Vital Energi, with the installation of a zero carbon 750kW biomass boiler as the primary energy source. For periods of peak demand Vital Energi installed a new 1.5MW gas fired boiler, and refurbished two existing 1.2MW gas boilers, which act as stand-bys.

Heating and hot water is distributed from the modified ‘heat hub’ in Cruddas Park to the five external tower blocks through an underground pipe network designed by Vital Energi. Two plate heat exchangers and heat meters control and measure the hot water that is supplied to the towers from the energy hub. Each of the six tower blocks also has a plate heat exchanger and heat meter which means that the heat and hot water that is supplied to individual flats can now be measured and billed according to usage.

Vital Energi approached Armstrong Integrated – specialists in packaged HVAC plant and integrated plantrooms – to provide pumping capability for the project. The systems supplied by Armstrong are 8004 Series IPS integrated pumping systems. These are complete pre-designed and pre-assembled fluid management systems. Costs involved in designing the system are removed, as the pump solutions simply require configuring to suit the application. In addition as the pump solutions are designed by Armstrong they offer the best possible integration of pumps with controls technology for exceptional performance.

As the pump packages were fully assembled and tested before leaving Armstrong’s factory, many potential project risks were eliminated. Poor system integration during installation was avoided, and the pump solutions could be manufactured concurrently with other parts of the project to reduce the schedule significantly, at the same time as avoiding delays or bottle-necks that might occur on-site. These factors combined to provide a high-performing product solution, with outstanding energy efficiency, at the lowest first installed cost, with reduced risk and shorter installation times.

The 8004 IPS integrated pumping modules supplied for the Riverside Dene district heating scheme are each capable of controlling up to 18 zones. Armstrong’s set mounted IPS (Integrated Pumping System), which is fully wired and pre-commissioned to the pumps within each set, optimises performance and enables the modules to communicate with the BMS. Control of the pumps has been pre-designed and integrated by the pump manufacturer to ensure that demand at the site is met automatically with optimum overall system efficiency.

The pumps at the heart of each module are vertical in line Armstrong 4300 IVS pumps with integrated variable speed drives. The split coupled pumps are far easier to maintain throughout their lifetime. They feature external seals which enable all mechanical seal components to be withdrawn for servicing without the need to disturb other pump components or the motor connection.

The new district heating scheme is expected to deliver tangible benefits for local residents in addition to saving 1,054 tonnes of CO2 per annum. Household fuel bills on the estate are predicted to reduce and the project has an expected payback period of less than eight years.

Dominic Cutts, Director – Systems Solutions Group, Armstrong Integrated said, “The Riverside Dene development is one of the most impressive demonstrations to date of the ability of renewable heating technology to improve lives at the same time as helping the environment. The Armstrong pump solutions installed at Riverside Dene create an all variable speed environment in the energy centre to enable the system to adapt quickly and effectively to meet the demand of local residents at different times of day, and throughout the year.”

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