National Centre for Energy Systems Integration

Newcastle Helix

Newcastle Helix

Newcastle Helix is Newcastle’s £350 million project bringing together university, business and residential buildings. It provides a living laboratory for us to trial innovative urban technologies.

The energy system of Newcastle Helix includes the following infrastructure:

  • 11kV smart grid throughout the site
  • Combined heat and power (CHP) district heating
  • Electric vehicle (EV) fuelling station
  • Low carbon heating
  • Building-mounted solar photovoltaic
  • Solar thermal photovoltaic (PVT), producing power and hot water

The first University teaching building on site is  Urban Sciences Building (USB)This is key to our research at Newcastle Helix and is home to CESI HQ.

We are using the Newcastle Helix energy system to learn more about questions such as:

  • What are the effects of operating Newcastle helix in “islanded mode”, with an independent power supply, and comparing
    • the costs/ benefits of operating in islanded mode from a single energy vector approach
    • the costs / benefits of operating in islanded mode from a multi-energy vector approach
  • How we can reduce the hacking risks for building control systems
  • How can the USB act as a virtual power plant


Smart Hubs Project

The SmartHubs project aims to create and demonstrate an innovative low-carbon energy system of the future.  

In the CESI & UNEW energy Lab, we are demonstrating projects developing exciting technologies, most of which will offer more efficient energy solutions to create a greener, lower carbon future. Here, in this video, we have been testing the rapid EV charger in a hybrid system of PV and BESS which is capable of charging an electric vehicle in around 30 minutes and has been developed for the Smart Hubs project. 

Science Central masterplan
Virtual 3D Model of Newcastle Helix