E.ON’s Blackburn Meadows plant named one of UK’s best new buildings

photo credit Paul Karalius

E.ON’s Blackburn Meadows renewable energy plant has been named among the winners of the 2017 Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) national awards, with judges commenting on its ‘iconic and beautiful’ design.

The biomass combined heat and power plant in Sheffield is among 49 new buildings across the UK to have received 2017 RIBA National Awards which champion and celebrate the best architecture in the UK and around the world and will now be considered for the shortlist of the RIBA Stirling Prize, for the UK’s best building of the year.

Commenting on the award, David Topping, Director of Business Heat and Power Solutions at E.ON, said: “Blackburn Meadows is already a real example of the new energy world – a renewable energy plant that provides both electricity to the grid and a more sustainable and affordable source of heating and hot water to local businesses. The Tinsley site has been home to power generation for almost 100 years and it is a huge honour to be told that the design of the new site is continuing to provide an iconic landmark for the area.”

BDP architect director Stephen Marshall added: “It is an honour to be included in this year’s national awards and particularly pleasing to see an infrastructure project recognised for its contribution to architecture. The design was naturally driven by the process engineering within but extended from the realm of the purely functional to the poetic, referencing the local industrial vernacular and the intense heat at the heart of the energy making process.”

In announcing the winners, RIBA President Jane Duncan said: “I am delighted to see such confident, innovative and ambitious architecture delivered in such challenging times. Blackburn Meadows shows that contemporary British industrial and infrastructure architecture can be as iconic and as beautiful as its Victorian predecessors.”

E.ON is also installing 10MW of batteries at the Blackburn Meadows site in a project that will help stabilise the frequency on the national grid and balance the range of power generation available. The lithium-ion batteries are housed in four shipping containers and will be able to hold the same amount of energy as 500,000 mobile phone batteries1.

Customer solutions such as energy storage, cleaner on-site generation, or energy management are part of a range of energy solutions offered by E.ON to help customers to use energy more efficiently and make businesses more profitable.

Blackburn Meadows CHP plant is a 30MW renewable energy plant that can produce enough power for around 40,000 homes, converting recycled waste wood into electricity. It also uses combined heat and power technology which is a more efficient process that captures the heat produced through the electricity generation process to be used in a district heating scheme providing heat to customers including Sheffield Forgemasters, the Motorpoint Arena and Ice Sheffield.

1 Based on a system capacity of 5MWh versus a mobile phone battery energy capacity of 10wh (3.7v x 2,700 mAh = 10wh)

Photo credit Paul Karalius