Green light for new £15m facility at Nottingham's Queen's Medical Centre to help cut hazardous emissions

Plans for a new £15m facility to help cut carbon dioxide pollution and reduce reliance on fossil fuels at the Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC) have been given the go-ahead.
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The new energy centre will be built on hospital grounds to provide heating and cooling to the QMC.

It comes as part of wider proposals to install a renewable geothermal heating and cooling system as well as new energy-saving windows.

Inside the facility four high-efficiency heat pumps will extract heat from the air and draw natural warmth from the earth to provide sustainable energy to the hospital.

Plans for a new £15m facility to reduce emissions at the QMC have been approved. Photo: OtherPlans for a new £15m facility to reduce emissions at the QMC have been approved. Photo: Other
Plans for a new £15m facility to reduce emissions at the QMC have been approved. Photo: Other

It will be built and operated by German energy giant E.ON.

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH) says it has partnered with E.ON to deliver the wider 15-year energy efficiency programme at the hospital that will help the trust deliver its targets to operate more sustainably and improve staff and patient comfort.

Anthony May, trust chief executive, said: “This partnership demonstrates our significant commitment to environmental sustainability and offers a creative solution to meeting our energy needs and tackling climate change, while at the same time improving patient and staff comfort by allowing us to better manage temperatures within our buildings.

“Innovative projects like these will play a hugely important role in helping us meet our ambitious goal of achieving a net zero carbon operation for heating and cooling system emissions by 2040.”

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According to planning documents, the energy centre will reduce the hospital’s carbon emissions by 7,972 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, a reduction of 35 per cent from existing emissions.

It is anticipated the overall £64m programme of measures will cut emissions by around 10,000 tonnes a year, or the equivalent of taking more than 2,200 cars off the road.

The hospital trust says 64 boreholes will be drilled 250 metres into the ground to provide the hospital with the sustainable geothermal energy source, with the ultimate aim of eventually decommissioning the current gas-fired heating system.

While the new heat pumps will reduce the hospital’s reliance on combustion equipment, ammonia will be used for refrigeration and cooling purposes.

It can be harmful if people are exposed to it in high concentrations.

Planning documents say: “Redmore Environmental have also carried out ammonia dispersion modelling for the proposed energy centre.

“This is a requirement as the proposed new heat pumps use ammonia as a low carbon refrigerant, and ventilation measures must be in place to disperse the ammonia in the unlikely event of an emergency escape of ammonia.

“The report highlights that with the systems developed in the design in place,ammonia levels are kept below harmful levels.

“Ammonia detection systems will be installed to detect any emergency discharge of ammonia from the heat pump systems.

“These systems will generate alarms in order that the building may be evacuated, and ammonia levels will be managed by automatic mechanical ventilation systems.”

A noise report must also be submitted to the council, but documents add sound engineers have had input to “ensure the proposals do not have an adverse effect on the nearby residents and surrounding area”.

The plans to demolish an existing building on the site to make way for the new energy facility were granted permission by Nottingham Council in the week beginning September 18.

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