Queens Quay Heat Pump Heat Network Scheme

This project delivered at Queens Quay was the first of it’s kind – a heat network powered by a large scale water source heat pump.


The project was conceived by West Dunbartonshire Council whose primary drivers for the scheme are decarbonisation and alleviating fuel poverty. It is a demonstrator project as it has shown that heat pumps can be placed at the heart of new build developments as well as decarbonising existing buildings.

The scheme is comprised of a custom-built energy centre housing two x 2.65MW water source heat pumps, a 130,000-litre thermal store and back up gas boilers which adds resilience and contribute towards the 20MW peak demand. The heat pumps and thermal store are capable of delivering approximately 82% of the peak demand at final development build-out and in early years will provide greater than 95% of the heat demand.

A river water abstraction system has been installed at the Queens Quay Basin, which takes water from the River Clyde and circulates it through the heat pumps, before returning it to the river, with a stipulation that it cannot be returned more than 3°C cooler than its original abstraction temperature to avoid damaging the ecology of the river.

The heat pump converts the latent heat from the river into low-temperature hot water, which is distributed via a 1.5km district heat network serving the 23-hectare development. It will eventually serve 1,200 homes, and the associated infrastructure needed to support them, such as health centres and commercial facilities. Vital are also supporting West Dunbartonshire Council in negotiations to connect the Golden Jubilee National Hospital. The project was designed to maximise decarbonisation and performs with 300%+ efficiency.

The initial phase of the project connected the Titan Enterprise Business Centre, Aurora House council offices, Clyde Bank College and the Clydebank Leisure Centre. Further connections will include the residential component and a major connection for the Golden Jubilee hospital.

This project truly is an example of how renewable technology coupled with heat networks and the right in-home digital technologies can provide significant savings to new and existing buildings whilst also providing protection and security of pricing to end users. Queens Quay has also created fantastic social value in the area with schools engaging and learning about the technology which will attract future skills into the heat network market and create positive messages for heat networks.

“Fantastic design from Vital – really impressive. They have added value all the way through the scheme. What was designed wasn’t fit for purpose so Vital worked with the design to ensure the solution was right for us and the scheme. Vital has also assisted us with the modelling and we wouldn’t be where we are without Vital’s help.”

Jim McAloon
Strategic Lead Regeneration, West Dunbartonshire Council