District heating pipes

Vattenfall and Viridor collaborate to harness low carbon heat for UK cities

  • Vattenfall and Viridor will work together to reduce emissions from heating in homes and commercial buildings, linking heat networks to energy recovery facilities (ERFs) across the UK.
  • Together they will explore opportunities to develop new local energy systems anchored around Viridor’s fleet of ERFs and delivering low carbon, low cost heat to the communities in which they operate.
  • At around 37%1, emissions from heat are the single biggest contributor to UK carbon emissions.
  • Heat networks make use of natural resources to reduce emissions, improve air quality and help address fuel poverty by providing affordable low carbon heat to homes and businesses.

Two leading energy providers have come together to help reduce emissions from heating in UK homes and other buildings, which are currently responsible for around 37%1 of the UK’s carbon emissions.

Low carbon heating provider Vattenfall will work with one of the UK’s biggest recycling and energy recovery companies, Viridor, to capture heat from Viridor’s energy recovery facilities (ERFs) across the UK. Vattenfall and Viridor are now beginning the exciting journey to develop potential heat off-take projects together.

The heat will then be delivered through pipes developed and operated by Vattenfall to homes and businesses in the area, providing clean, affordable heat. The waste collected from the community will be recycled into clean heat for the same community, creating a local closed-loop energy system.

Viridor operates a fleet of ERFs up and down the UK and is continuing to expand its operations in new locations. These include plants near areas of urban regeneration which present great opportunities for new-build and existing properties to be served by district heating networks in the coming years.

Energy Recovery Facility Grab

Energy Recovery Facility Grab

This exciting collaboration is common in Europe, where Vattenfall already works with ERF owners and operators. The approach being taken by Viridor and Vattenfall aligns well with UK Government, Scottish Government and Welsh Government policies that support the roll out of district heating in urban areas. The Government’s successful flagship Heat Networks Investment Programme and the proposed Green Heat Networks Fund specifically target collaborations between waste heat sources and heat network operators.

Viridor and Vattenfall believe that heat captured from energy recovery facilities present huge opportunities for local authorities to address fuel poverty, improve energy security and, by reducing reliance on fossil fuels, reduce emissions and improve air quality. Large scale heat network projects also have significant local economic benefits, creating jobs through the life of the project from concept and construction through to operation and servicing.

Mike Reynolds, Managing Director at Vattenfall Heat UK commented:

“It made perfect sense for one of the market leaders in energy recovery facilities to collaborate with one of the market leaders in delivering clean heat to customers across Europe. This type of cooperation is important to Vattenfall as we build out our business in conjunction with key players in the UK energy landscape. We have a shared vision of serving our communities with clean, efficient and low-cost services. Together we will be able to really inspire bolder and braver thinking and ultimately faster decarbonisation.”

Mike Reynolds, Managing Director at Vattenfall Heat UK

Mike Reynolds, Managing Director at Vattenfall Heat UK

Noah Nkonge, Head of Partnerships at Vattenfall Heat UK added:

“To reach net zero the UK has to crack the problem of emissions from heat, which currently make up one third of the UK’s total emissions. Working together with Viridor, we’re looking to bring all the right people and organisations to the table so we can reduce emissions and provide reliable, affordable heating for homes and businesses in cities across the country.”

Noah Nkonge, Head of Partnerships at Vattenfall Heat UK

Noah Nkonge, Head of Partnerships at Vattenfall Heat UK

Richard Pennells, Viridor’s Managing Director of Energy, said:  

“This announcement underlines Viridor’s commitment to ensuring that all waste becomes a useful resource which contributes to the UK economy. Our ERFs put non-recyclable waste to work within sophisticated combined heat and power plants. We are excited about this new collaboration with Vattenfall which combines two leading businesses in their sector to create meaningful change in towns and cities across the UK.” 

Tim Rotheray, Viridor’s Director of Innovation and Regulation, said:

“Viridor is a business committed to innovation and investment and recognises that collaborations are the key to helping the UK achieve its resource efficiency goals.  Working together, with likeminded companies such as Vattenfall, will help Viridor to maximise its contribution to a greener recovery, ensuring that we really do Build Back Better.”

Minister of State for Business, Energy, and Clean Growth, Kwasi Kwarteng said: 

“Heat networks are playing a vital role in decarbonising the way we warm our homes and businesses and that’s why the Government has committed £320 million of funding through the Heat Networks Investment Project.  

“The UK continues to lead the way in transitioning to a future with net zero carbon emissions and I’m delighted to see Vattenfall and Viridor working together to deliver innovative, low carbon heating.”

Notes to editors

1. Emissions from heat account for 37% of UK carbon emissions. Source: BEIS, 2018


Find out more about Vattenfall Heat UK here.

See also

Kentish Flats Offshore Wind Farm

Helene Biström new Senior Vice President Business Area Wind

Helene Biström has been appointed new Senior Vice President and Head of Business Area Wind at Vattenfall and member of the Executive Group Management.

[Missing text '/newslistpagetemplate/NewsItemPage' for 'English (United Kingdom)']

Fiscal policy must support the UK's net zero heat ambitions

A clear strategy to decarbonise heating alongside the right financial framework will encourage investment to flow into the sector, writes Mike Reynolds, Managing Director of Vattenfall Heat ...

[Missing text '/newslistpagetemplate/NewsItemPage' for 'English (United Kingdom)']
Kentish Flats Offshore Wind Farm

Vattenfall's response to the ruling in the Norfolk Vanguard Judicial Review

Danielle Lane, Vattenfall's Head of Market Development Offshore and UK Country Manager responds to the ruling in the Norfolk Vanguard Judicial Review.

Read the full article