A fascinating new sculpture that looks fresh out of a science fiction movie has appeared next to Manchester Central. The 40m high structure is eye-catching to say the least, but what exactly does it do?

Designed by award-winning architect Tokin Lui, the Tower of Light is the effort of a new zero-carbon energy project for the city to get the ball rolling for the 2038 goal of Manchester becoming a zero-emissions city and will be powering the city’s beloved buildings including Manchester Art Gallery, the Bridgewater Hall, Central Library and Heron House.

Manchester Council has stated this initiative is to save an initial figure of 1,600 tonnes of carbon emissions per year, with the structures potential becoming more effective as new buildings are added.

The Tower of Light scheme has been part-funded by a £2.87m grant from the Government’s Heat Network Investment Project (HNIP), with Manchester City Council being one of the first local authorities to receive this funding.

The project is said to be complete by the end of the year with the structure acting as a chimney for the low-carbon energy centre.

The project is “much more intricate than a standard flue due to its complex geometry but will hopefully become an iconic part of Manchester’s skyline,” said Anthony Shawcross, senior construction manager for Vital Energi.
“We’re delighted with how smoothly the installation went and we hope the people of Manchester will now enjoy it for many years.”