Clydebank homes to be heated using heat pump technology drawing water from the Clyde, 165 years after it was first suggested



On the site of the former John Brown’s shipyard and as part of the £250 million Queen’s Quay regeneration project, heat pump technology will extract heat from the waters of the Clyde to heat local homes and businesses. It seems, Lord Kelvin suggested the idea first in 1852 but it’s still being referred to as ‘pioneering.’ That’s been a very long ‘flash to bang’ to get ‘a head of steam up’ as those of us still using metaphors from the ages of sail and steam might say. If it works well there will be more built.

In Energy Voice today, the system is explained:

‘Though pioneering, Heat pump technology works in a similar way to an air conditioner or refrigerator transferring air from one place to another; heat pumps usually draw heat from the cooler external air or from the ground and convert it into warm air which is then transferred to another location, such as a house or office block.’

Though quite a small project, in itself,  it’s another in what is becoming a flood of renewables projects across Scotland, large and small, which suggest 100% sustainable renewables energy generation is possible well before the target of 2030. If you search this blog for ‘renewables’, you’ll find more than 50 reports (!) including this one:

Scotland’s energy 100% renewable by 2030?


5 thoughts on “Clydebank homes to be heated using heat pump technology drawing water from the Clyde, 165 years after it was first suggested

  1. William Henderson October 28, 2017 / 3:44 pm


    If my memory serves me well, Lord Kelvin did actually do this in the 1880s. I understand that originally the Glasgow City Chambers were heated by a heat pump drawing heat energy from the ground under the buildings.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Alasdair Macdonald October 28, 2017 / 3:51 pm

    Thermodynamics is a branch of physics which was pretty well fleshed out during the 18th/19th centuries, with Lord Kelvin being a significant contributor. It was driven, substantially, by the demands of industry. Glasgow, Manchester and Birmingham can fairly claim to be the ‘cradles of the industrial revolution’ and in addition to Kelvin, figures like James Watt and James Prescott Joule made substantial contributions.

    Coal, of course, was readily available and many of the industrialists were also coal owners and, so, the technologies developed were constructed with coal in mind. Although the principles of heat pumps were known, the technologies were not well developed. There was not a great deal of capital invested and the kinds of materials now used today were not available.

    Materials and technologies are more sophisticated. Coal, gas and oil are now widely viewed as contributing to air pollution and climate change. There are also political concerns about sources of supply. So, the conditions, such as the increased interest in renewables, mean that heat pump technology can now be deployed. There might well have been economic and political bullying by the oil/motoring lobby, such as delayed the widespread introduction of electric cars.

    Technologies like these make feasible the development of community-owned heat and power schemes. Combined with the long-known principles of insulation and ventilation in housebuilding, such schemes have the potential to remove ‘fuel poverty’ and to provide high-quality ‘affordable’ housing. By being serious about land reform and taxing land, much more land can be made available for housing in our towns and cities, which could resolve quickly the blight of homelessness. Reducing the price of land means that more can be spent on the quality of housing. Homelessness is a wilful consequence of a rigged property market. It is unregulated property speculation which caused the crash of 2008 and is on its way to causing the next, imminent one.

    With the plans to institute a publicly owned power company the Scottish Government is making moves in the right direction. The Scottish Investment Bank can help here as many of these new power suppliers can be small businesses and community businesses, the kind of innovative people who were stifled by ‘big’ finance. Some of these ideas are within Mr John McDonnell’s ideas for Labour. They are Green ideas, too. So, if parties can set aside ‘tribalism’ there is a substantial overlap in policies, including land reform, real redistributive policies can be instituted. If Labour could swallow its pride and recognise that constitutional reform is necessary to distribute powers to increasingly local levels, then a paradigm change could be brought about which would be difficult for Tories to reverse.

    Personally, I am convinced that independence is essential for this change, but, I think a change of attitude within Labour in England with regard to the governance of England and the devolution to English regions would be a significantly promising move.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Clydebuilt October 29, 2017 / 8:46 pm

    As heat can be extracted from sea water at Clydebank, heat extraction from sea water must be possible all along our (very long) coast. West and North probably the best due to the Gulf Stream.

    Lots of examples of heat pumps currently being used in Scotland to supply heat. Tubes laid horizontally just under soil. To tubes fed down wells .

    Liked by 1 person

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