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West Midlands Canals to Generate Renewables

19 Feb 17:00 by Steve Walia

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The government has committed to spending £20 million to transform Britain's canals, rail lines and mines into renewable heat sources in a bid to provide clean energy to hospitals and tower blocks.

Nine schemes across the UK will benefit from the funding, which will help transform old mineshafts, canals and London tube lines into sources of clean energy. A further £70 million will be spent on constructing innovative new green hydrogen gas plants for factories and homes alike. 

Government minister Kwasi Kwarteng said that the UK faced a bit challenge to reduce emissions from housing and industry, especially with Britain's 2050 climate change target in mind and whilst meeting economic growth goals.

Government ministers already agreed to prevent the use of gas-fired boilers in new-build properties from 2025, and the hunt for alternative clean energy heat sources has rocketed as a result. This new funding round could provide local renewable heat to a quarter of a million people in ten years time whilst slashing energy bills by up to half.

The green heat project will include canals in Birmingham as well as London Underground lines, which produce a lot of otherwise wasted heat. Government funding will see water source heat pumps placed into canals, working like a reverse fridge, which will capture heat from the water and pipe it into local tower blocks and Birmingham City Hospital.

Other similar schemes will be launched near Aberdeen and on the Mersey to generate low-carbon hydrogen - capturing the C02 that gets released by splitting conventional gas before it enters the atmosphere.

Hydrogen entered the British gas grid for the first time on record in 2020. Just a 20% hydrogen blend on the grid could slash C02 emissions by six million tonnes every year.