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Council considers re-using energy from crematorium to heat adjacent leisure centre

Innovative proposals from Redditch Borough Council were presented today which would see energy re-used from its crematorium to heat a large part of the Council's adjacent Abbey Stadium Leisure Centre.

The Council Leader, Cllr Carole Gandy, officers and a technical consultant presented the full proposals at a press briefing in Redditch Town Hall, following worldwide interest in the project over the past few days.

The proposals come as the Council investigates ways of reducing CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions and meeting the energy needs of its new leisure centre due to open in spring 2012.

Cllr Gandy said: "With the Abbey Stadium Leisure Centre development adjacent to Redditch's Crematorium, and in line with the Council's commitment to efficient energy use, there is the potential to transfer almost 100 per cent of the energy generated from the flue gas cleaning process at the crematorium, which would otherwise be wasted. This would then heat a large part of the whole Leisure Centre. Solar thermal hot water systems are also agreed for the new centre.

"Carrying out the project would cost £39,000 but would mean we are offsetting the demand for mains natural gas for the new centre by 42 per cent over the course of a year, giving a financial saving of £14,560 per year, which means the investment would have paid for itself in four years. In addition, doing this means we avoid needing to install a CHP (Combined Heat and Power) unit, which would cost us £100,000. Therefore, we instantly save £61,000 .The savings can then be spent on other key Council services.

"The use of waste heat energy in this way is good practice and very innovative. It would genuinely be a first in the UK and demonstrates Redditch Borough Council's seriousness about addressing climate change issues, especially reducing its reliance on fossil fuels, and reducing the borough's carbon footprint.

"The Council fully appreciates this is a sensitive matter for many people but recommends, while remaining respectful of the bereavement process, the plans are supported to help tackle the pressing challenges of  CO2 emissions and climatic change, and to help reduce the high energy bills that are a necessary feature of running a modern leisure centre.

"The Council is genuinely keen to hear the views of people on this matter prior to a final decision being made and is grateful for all the feedback received so far, the majority of which are in support of the proposal."

Redditch Borough Council is already in the process of upgrading crematorium equipment to reduce harmful mercury emissions into the atmosphere in response to EU legislation.

In order to abate (or capture) mercury and other acids and particulates from flue gases, the gases need cleaning. To do this, the flue gases need to be cooled with cold water from around 800 degrees centigrade to around 140 to 160 degrees centigrade, creating a significant heat loss which without energy recovery, would simply be exhausted into the sky.

Councillor Gandy added: "The `waste of heat` has long been considered nonsensical on the Continent and planning permission for new crematoria often insists that the waste heat is used at a suitable adjacent development. The technology is simple and the science involved is trusted.

"This Council has long encouraged residents to be prudent with their own resources, for example by insulating their homes, so it believes it is correct to investigate the potential for re-using waste heat in this way."

In the UK, Warwick District Council and several other councils are already using waste heat from the abatement process to warm their chapels and crematoria buildings rather than release waste heat into the atmosphere, although only a small proportion of the available waste heat is actually used.

Several councillors and staff have been to see how the waste heat is re-used at Oakley Wood Crematorium at Bishops Tachbrook near Leamington Spa owned by Warwick District Council, and were reassured that there is no actual change to the cremation process itself.

Borough councillors are due to discuss the proposal at their Executive Committee on Tuesday 1st February and at Full Council on Monday 7th February. The committee report can now be accessed at



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This page was last reviewed 27 January 2011 at 16:10 by Adrian Marklew.
The page is next due for review 26 July 2011.
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Redditch Borough Council, The Town Hall, Walter Stranz Square, Redditch, B98 8AH - Directions to Council Offices