Colloide awarded Viking Energy Network a UK-first renewable energy scheme

Heat from the River Tyne used to warm homes and schools, cutting carbon and saving money

After a competitive tender process, South Tyneside Council Cabinet has appointed Colloide engineering Systems the contract to construct the groundbreaking Viking Energy Network at Jarrow. This district heating system is the first of its kind in the country and would work by harnessing low-grade heat from the river and exporting it to 11 buildings, including high-rise flats, schools and sheltered housing.

The multi-million-pound energy network would slash annual carbon emissions by an estimated 1,035 tonnes and save around half a million pounds a year.

Detailed designs for the system have now been drawn up and a planning application has been submitted.

An energy centre serving the network will be built on an existing council-owned brownfield site at Jarrow Staithes on the south bank of the River Tyne. The system plans to combine a river source heat pump, a combined heat and power (CHP) back-up system, a 1 MW solar farm, and a private wire electrical network with storage battery.

Water source heat pumps work by extracting heat from a body of water, compressing it to increase the temperature and then converting it into useful energy in the form of hot water in a network of insulated pipes connecting buildings. The solar farm would provide much of the electricity to power the heat pump.

CHP – which would be used on occasions when the solar panels hadn’t generated sufficient electricity – is a highly-efficient process that harnesses the heat that is a by-product of the electricity generation process and which would otherwise be wasted.

Cllr Atkinson with Construction and Technical Services Mohsen Kohannejad at the proposed location. © South Tyneside Council


Stacey Drennan, Colloide’s Business Development and Bid Manager, said:

“We are delighted to be working alongside South Tyneside Council on this cutting-edge renewable energy scheme.

“As a company with a vision to improve our environment through sustainable engineering solutions, our involvement in this project is a welcome addition to our portfolio of innovative, low carbon projects.

“This is an exciting project that will deliver significant cost savings and slash carbon emissions by harnessing low-grade heat from the river which will help drive the Council towards carbon neutrality by 2030.” 

An aerial view of the proposed site. © South Tyneside Council


The council declared a climate emergency earlier this year and pledged to take all necessary steps to make South Tyneside Council become carbon neutral by 2030.

Cllr Joan Atkinson, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety, with responsibility for climate change, said:

“The appointment of a contractor is an exciting milestone; we are delighted to welcome Colloide on board and look forward to working together on this highly innovative project.”

“This district heating system will be the first of its kind in the country and we’re keen to drive it forward. This project is unique in that it combines the three renewable technologies, ensuring minimal use of fossil fuels.

“It should also run close to carbon neutral for much of the summer by using electricity generated by the solar farm to run the heat pump. Any surplus electricity would be used in council buildings.

“The district heating system would heat 11 buildings around the town, including three of our residential tower blocks and two schools. It will be a key component in our drive to become carbon neutral by 2030.”

Cllr Atkinson with Construction and Technical Services Mohsen Kohannejad at the proposed location. © South Tyneside Council

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Colloide has a strong base of experience in providing renewable energy solutions to the agricultural, industrial and municipal sectors. This experience allows us to assist a range of organisations in becoming more sustainable through lowering their carbon footprint. Discover our full range of innovative technologies or if you’d like to know more about the Viking Energy Network get in touch.