Transformer chimney installation
You will soon notice a new addition to the University skyline as a 45 metre chimney will be installed on top of the new Transformer energy centre this January.
The chimney is a large flue for the centre’s CHP (combined heat and power) system and gas boilers which will simultaneously generate heat and electricity for our buildings.
Situated next to the Arts Tower, the Transformer will provide security of supply in the event of a heating or power failure to make sure that we do not lose vital research, which is often aimed at tackling the challenges of the future.
Buildings such as the Arts Tower, Firth Court, Alfred Denny building and the Dainton building are currently supplied with heating by the Veolia District Energy Network. Veolia take unrecyclable residential waste that would otherwise be sent to landfill and burn this to create energy to heat a network of buildings in Sheffield.
Whilst the network is a great low-carbon initiative, it has had many costly and inconvenient faults over recent years. When the heating has failed in the past, we have had to rely on diesel boilers which are hugely expensive and have a high environmental impact. Disruption to our energy supply can cost significant amounts of money as well as potentially halting our ability to deliver world-leading research.
How does it work?
The main heat-generating plant is the gas-driven CHP unit. The unit generates high voltage electricity and heat is recovered from the process which is usable for the heating and hot water. This heat is transferred into our district heating network.
The gas boilers are installed to top up heat to the district heating network and as a backup when needed.
Why do we need the Transformer?
Our research, including that from our Institute for Sustainable Food, which relies on tightly controlled temperatures to ensure the highest levels of accuracy. The Transformer will provide a backup supply system to ensure that the University can continue to support staff and students in all circumstances.