Vattenfall and Feenstra have launched a simple and affordable heat pump system that could be an easy replacement for traditional gas central heating boilers.
The all-electric solution will first be rolled out in the Netherlands next year, with the aim of introducing it to countries with a need for this type of solution in the future.
The similarities between Dutch and British gas central heating mean these high temperature heat pumps could be suitable for UK housing in suburban and rural areas. They could enable households to swap out their existing gas boilers without needing to go to the additional expense and disruption of changing the rest of their heating system or installing additional insulation at the same time.
Many homes in the UK and the Netherlands are currently heated using a central heating boiler, that uses natural gas to heat the water, which then flows through a network of pipes and radiators. Alternatives such as an electric heat pump use electricity to pump heat in from the outside air.
The drawback with these devices is the cooler water temperature, which usually sits between 45 and 55 degrees Celsius. To allow these heat pumps to work at their most efficient, houses need to have their insulation improved, underfloor heating fitted or the radiators adapted. Gas boilers and the high temperature heat pump sit between 60 to 80 degrees Celsius, meaning that these additional works are not required.
Vattenfall’s aim is to enable fossil free living within one generation. To do that, a range of solutions to address Europe and the UK’s current and future housing and business heating and cooling needs are required.
Heating accounts for as much as 37 per cent¹ of the UK’s carbon emissions. Heat pumps are often the best solution to decarbonising heating in suburban or rural areas where properties are dispersed. In densely populated areas, the most cost-effective solution is to capture waste heat, from sources such as energy recovery plants, and supply it to homes and businesses via district heating networks.
Mark Anderson, Commercial and Development Director at Vattenfall Heat UK said,
“The high temperature heat pump solution is innovative, simple to install and could be the solution to help decarbonise homes in the UK that are heated using traditional gas boilers.
“There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to decarbonising heating. Removing emissions from heating relies on us making better use of waste heat from all sources and installing the right technologies in the correct locations of the country, where they will be most effective and affordable.”
Research conducted by Vattenfall in the UK earlier this year found that just under a quarter² of UK adults are confident they could afford to install a low-carbon heating system. The price of the high-temperature heat pump will be comparable to current low and medium temperature heat pumps, but without the extra cost of retrospective insulation and/or under floor heating.
- https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/766109/decarbonising-heating.pdf (p.13)
- Research conducted for Vattenfall by Opinium of 2,000 UK adults between 28th May-1st June 2021. When asked ‘If choosing a new low-carbon heating system for your home, how confident are you in being able to afford to install a low-carbon heating system?’ 23% felt they ‘could afford to install a low-carbon heating system’.
Vattenfall Heat UK
Vattenfall heat networks system supplies heat from a central source to consumers, via a network of underground pipes carrying hot water. The technology is already widely used across European cities and the organisation currently has hundreds of thousands of customers in cities like Berlin and Amsterdam.
In the UK, Vattenfall’s current pipeline of district heating networks will supply 33,000 households, 780,000 square meters of office, retail and commercial space, saving a total CO2 saving of 8000 tonnes each year.
Vattenfall Heat UK delivers on low carbon heating, cooling and power solutions; through smart minds, shared risk, and a commitment to enable fossil-fuel free living within one generation. We’re an energy partner at the forefront of affordable and reliable low carbon heating in the UK.