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Back to Blog 16 February 2022

Delivering a World First for Decarbonisation

Working in partnership with Low Carbon Farming

ESB's Smart Energy Services partnered with Low Carbon Farming to design, build and manage a renewable heating solution for the UK’s largest greenhouse complex. Located in East Anglia and covering two sites and 29 Hectares, the project now serves as a critical proof of concept in meeting the challenges of the UK’s post-Brexit food security needs, as well as its 2030 carbon reduction targets.


The Ask

Low Carbon Farming came to us with an ambitious vision to achieve a world-first: deliver a large scale greenhouse heating solution that would not rely on fossil fuels.

"If we are to meet our carbon reduction targets, we need bold, innovative solutions like the one ESB’s Smart Energy Services delivered for Low Carbon Farming”

– James Samworth, Partner, Low Carbon Farming"

The Challenge

The scale of the project presented a unique design challenge, while the global pandemic created additional logistical issues. Among them: the procurement of the heat pumps from Northern Italy, the heart of Europe’s outbreak. In the midst of nationwide lockdowns, a tremendous cross-border collaborative effort secured their delivery in March 2020. 


The Solution

  • Inspired by the observation that water recycling plants expel tens of thousands of litres of clean warm water per second, at temperatures upto 25oC, the solution was designed to capture the heat energy wasted.

The Technology

  • Two heat exchanger buildings capture 72MW of waste heat from nearby water recycling facilities and transport it 2.5miles to the greenhouses. CHP units provide the electricity for the heat pumps, while providing the necessary CO2 to feed the plants.  

The Results

  • 72MW of thermal power generated—enough to heat nearly 20,000 new homes

  • 90% of heat required produced on-site by heat pumps

  • Most efficient system of its kind in Ireland and the UK

  • 75% lower carbon emissions than traditional greenhouses


ESB’s Smart Energy Services has already delivered projects for more than 300 large businesses across Ireland and the UK. Our customers includes Tesco, Medite, the Dublin Airport Authority, ABP and Ardagh Glass amongst many others. We have a launched a €75m fund to help large energy users decarbonise while making energy cost savings.

We work in partnership with large energy users to deliver sustainable solutions that dramatically reduce energy costs and carbon emissions. 

Find out how your organisation can benefit from: 

• Unparalleled expertise in the energy sector 

• An international network of technology partners 

• Advanced energy monitoring and analytics 

• Project financing with no up-front investment required

• Innovative energy saving technologies

Our €75 million Smart Energy Services Fund is available to help large energy users. Talk to us today.