Consumers and businesses based in UK cities stand to benefit from a revolutionary low carbon smart energy grid called GreenSCIES (Green Smart Community Integrated Energy System), which has been launched in London and the West Midlands, by project partners London South Bank University (LSBU), Islington Council and Transport for London (TfL).

Concealed underground, the new smart energy grid – which has currently reached design stage – will provide an answer to the challenge of powering inner cities of the future, revolutionising the way we live now and transforming lives, homes and businesses into sustainable energy districts, while tackling fuel poverty and the negative effects of climate change.

GreenSCIES aims to deliver a solution which can provide low carbon and low cost transport, power and heat to a total of 12,500 homes in the London Borough of Islington and Sandwell in the West Midlands.

When constructed, GreenSCIES systems will deliver low carbon heat, mobility and power to an estimated 33,000 residents and nearly 70 local businesses in Islington. The new smart energy grid will help to reduce carbon emissions by an estimated 80 per cent (against conventional systems) while addressing fuel poverty by providing a significant reduction on consumer bills. The system will also deliver air quality improvements by reducing pollutants while improving provision of local skills training and job prospects, helping to invigorate local economies.

The system works by sharing heating and cooling between buildings, to ensure a balanced energy supply across the network: waste heat is captured from secondary heat sources – including office buildings, data centres and the public transport network. The temperature of the waste heat is then raised or cooled using heat pumps before being distributed to homes, businesses and communities, all year round.  By drawing on waste heat produced by data centres that support the internet, the smartgrid will channel energy from the internet to power homes, offices and transport networks of the future.

The impact of LSBU’s research for GreenSCIES reaches well beyond London and will be relevant wherever there are sources of unwanted or unused heat, for example, large data centres, industrial heat and mine water. 

The smart energy network will generate power from renewable energy sources while connecting to the electricity grid and to electric vehicle charging points. It will use artificial intelligence controls to connect flexible electricity demands from heat pumps and electric vehicles to intermittent renewable sources, including solar power – delivering clean, locally produced energy while reducing pollution and supporting a transition to low carbon transport.

In future, GreenSCIES plans to establish a new Centre of Excellence that will work with industry to carry out in-depth research and disseminate results globally.