Manchester City Council is working in partnership with Vital Energi to deliver the Manchester Civic Quarter Heat Network (CQHN).

The CQHN will provide an environmentally friendly heating solution for some of Manchester’s most iconic buildings, delivering significant carbon reductions.

Map showing the route of the CQHN

Where is it?

Heat will be generated from an energy centre, to be located near to Manchester Central Convention Centre. Heat created during electricity generation will be distributed through a highly efficient 2km underground network of insulated pipes to some of Manchester’s most iconic buildings. The electrical power generated will be distributed to buildings connected to the heat supply.

Energy Centre and the Tower of Light

The energy centre which will house the main plant and equipment has been designed by award-winning architects Tonkin Liu together with leading engineers Arup. The energy centre’s flues will be by the Tower of Light, a 40m stainless steel structural tower designed to be a sculptural landmark for the city. 

The scheme and the Tower of Light captures and celebrates Manchester’s low-carbon ambition and Climate Change Action Plan. It is an ultra-lightweight, single surface structure which uses the least material to achieve its form and function. The Shell Lace Structure is a pioneering and innovative structural technique developed over eight years of design-led research. Made from tailored 3-6mm laser-cut sheets that are then curved and welded together to create a stiff strong surface, it will support the flues from the new energy centre.  

Minimal energy is used to light the tower. During the day, highly reflective steel reflectors in polished finish move in a wave like motion in the wind to deflect sunlight into the tower’s chambers animating the structure with ever changing golden moving light. During the night, LED lights directed at the polished reflectors create moving light.

Find out more:

The pre-application consultation period has now come to a close.

Feedback will be summarised in a Statement of Community Engagement which will be submitted as part of a planning application.

Once the application has been submitted, Manchester City Council will formally consult on the plans.