Buildings, Energy and Environment Research Group

Collaborate to Innovate 2019


The winners of this year’s energy and environment category – led by a team from Nottingham University – have pioneered community energy network technology.

Judged by a panel of leading UK engineers, winning entries had to demonstrate that they were innovative, collaborative and likely to have an impact in their field of application.

Tent Basin 2017

Winner: SCENe (Sustainable Community Energy Networks)
Partners: University of Nottingham with Loughborough University, Igloo Blueprint, Urbed, Siemens, Solar Ready and Confers
Category Sponsor: Goodfellow

Project SCENe is a working partnership between engineers at the University of Nottingham, housing developers, the energy supply chain, a trading platform, industry and Nottingham City council that is transforming local energy infrastructure and is aiming to roll out across the UK.

The project applies multi-vector energy systems, including solar power and localised energy storage, combined with carbon neutral housing technology, to create what the partners say is the first robust and “smart” business model for sustainable community energy. A team led by Professor Mark Gillott, Chair in Sustainable Building Design at the university and the academic lead for project SCENe, built an early demonstrator living lab at the university campus, using smart technology to monitor and record energy shared usage, which gave commercial partners the reassurance to scale it up.

The model was transferred into Trent Basin where 42 homes are already inhabited and plugged in to the system, another 31 bespoke, sustainable homes are being built and 500 homes are planned. Trent Basin is the first ever new-build residential site to generate, store and use this electrical power for community benefit.

Seed funding came from the Energy Research Accelerator and Innovate UK, where SCENe was a case study in a July 2018 UK government consultation on the future of small-scale low-carbon generation. A second government report also highlighted how projects like SCENe foster a sense of community ownership of energy systems. A lot of infrastructure money has come from industry. Trent Basin is a £100 million housing scheme, funded by private industry.

Trent Basin is now attracting national and international interest in the concept of Local Community Energy, and Nottingham is showing its results to global businesses. One outcome to promote is that 83% of the Trent Basin residents would recommend the installation of energy storage equipment in their homes to other members of their community.

“We have already been approached by other developers wanting to collaborate on new projects,” Mark says. “We first want to take this out across the Nottingham area. Some aspects wont work for everyone, but it proves how to operate a smart local energy system with a business model that is viable and hassle-free for consumers to use.”

Read the full article at the engineer.

Posted on Thursday 7th November 2019

Buildings, Energy and Environment Research Groups

Faculty of Engineering
The University of Nottingham
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