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Ebtech Energy Systems have installed and commissioned one of the UK largest open loop heat pumps at Place UK, Close to the Norfolk Broads.

Founded in 1954 by John Place, Place UK has a solid reputation as one of Britain’s leading fruit growers and food processors.

To meet spring demand from major supermarkets for UK grown soft fruit, Place have built a new, state of the art, heated growing facility covering an enormous 22,000m². The crops require temperatures to be maintained at 18℃, which requires a substantial heat load. To meet this load, whilst minimising the effect on the environment it was decided to utilise open loop heat pump technology.

The heat pump extracts energy from water pumped from two 125m deep wells into the plant room. Because the water is abstracted from deep in the ground, it has a constant temperature of around 11℃ no matter what the weather or time of year. This makes it an ideal source of energy for a heat pump.

Once the energy is extracted from the water it is returned to the ground. No water is consumed or contaminated in the process, which was a very important factor given the reluctance of the Environment Agency to sanction further abstraction in what is a very sensitive area for hydrology and conservation.

In the plant room Ebtech specified a 2.5MW Carrier heat pump system. The units were chosen as they offered the highest heat pump COPs and hence minimised electricity consumption. The overall system performance is further enhanced by a bespoke control package.

Heat is distributed to the crops through a network of pipes, which are placed close to the plants and heated to 45℃. The low temperature pipework avoids any damage to the plants through scorching of the leaves.

Place UK are installing a further 2.5MW of heating in 2021. Ebtech have estimated that, over the next 20 years the total plant will save 28,000 tonnes of carbon emissions when compared to gas heating.

Ebtech Energy Ltd. are specialists in the supply and installation of heating systems and mechanical and electrical services for the horticultural, agricultural and commercial industries. For more information please visit


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