UK water heat pump technology battles for European renewable energy award

  • Star's heat pump in situe at Drammen


Dave Pearson

Director - Star Renewable Energy

World’s largest heat pump – built in Glasgow – shortlisted for climate change defying heat pump technology

Online poll opens at

The world’s largest district heat pump – manufactured in Glasgow and installed in Drammen, Norway – has been shortlisted for a prestigious award.

The device, which is 200x larger than the industrial standard, “harvests” heat from a freezing fjord and turns it into 90°C hot water for buildings, offices, schools, businesses and hospitals in the city of Drammen.

Drammen’s heat pump has been hailed by University of Glasgow Professor Paul Younger, who worked with experts Star Renewable Energy to install the system.

Professor Younger said: "This impressive zero carbon district heating system provides an inspirational example which has ignited enthusiasm for the potential of water source heat pumps worldwide."

The heat pump installation supplies more than 75% of the annual heat demand of the city of Drammen – home to 63,000 people – and provides energy storage capacity suitable for balancing the electricity grid, one of the major steps towards a future smart grid.

The Norwegian city pioneered the heat pump technology of tomorrow on the basis of a collaboration between Drammen Fjernvarme and Glasgow-based Star Renewable Energy, a subsidy of Star Refrigeration, the UK’s largest independent industrial cooling and heating contractor.

Star Renewable Energy Director Dave Pearson urged Brits to back the project’s nomination in the European Heat Pump Association’s Heat Pump City of The Year Award 2015, saying: “Community participation is central to ensuring that the Drammen Fjernvarme water heat pump technology reaches a global audience."

Jon Ivar, CEO of Drammen Fjernvarme AS, told how the project "elevated heat pump technology to new heights."

He said: "With total savings of €8m and overall carbon savings equivalent to driving 8,320 times around the globe, the Drammen Fjernvarme water heat pump represents a new era of sustainable heating for our cities."

"Aside from delivering lowest cost, we believe the new heat pump is the cleanest possible solution and we are delighted in just four years to have delivered 200GWh of clean heat."

The technology used in Drammen – once labelled "impossible" by The International Energy Agency, but later awarded its prestigious Rittinger Medal – has already received significant international attention, winning a number of awards. Receiving the Rittinger Medal last year, Star Refrigeration paid tribute to Drammen for "backing their vision up with terrific support to make it happen."

The innovations that make Drammen Fjernvarme the most energy efficient, natural-refrigerant-powered heat pump system on the planet include the use of ammonia, a non-ozone depleting refrigerant with zero global warming potential and the capability to heat up to 90°C. Commercial heat pumps use HFCs – potent greenhouse gases – and heat at a maximum of just 65°C.

The European Heat Pump Association’s Heat Pump City of The Year Award 2015 called upon cities and regions from across Europe to share their heat pump projects and best practices on renewable heating solutions.

Dave Pearson added: "We are glad the EHPA has whittled the extensive long-list down and that we have made it to the final eight. Now that we are in the race we are looking for the support of the British public as voting has now opened online."

Descriptions of all the nominees for the EHPA’s Award can be found at their website. Online voting is open to the public until the 18th of May.

Get your vote in for this feat of British engineering at