Special Report

Record heat pump demand results in new UK manufacturing facility

This diversification in the market brings new opportunities as well as challenges for installers and consumers. Vaillant believes there must be an urgent increase of support for installers in the industry to expand their skills to accommodate heat pumps if the Government’s target of 600,000 heat pumps sold per annum by 2028 is to be met.

Having led the innovation of highly efficient gas appliances since 1874, Vaillant believes that no one single technology will address the decarbonisation challenge. A combination of hydrogen gas boilers, heat pumps and hybrid systems along with controls and internet connected solutions will be key to meeting the Government’s targets.

Vaillant Group UK currently manufactures around half a million natural gas and liquified petroleum gas (LPG) appliances at its award winning and highly efficient Belper plant for the UK market. It is therefore well rehearsed in serving the requirements of the hundreds of thousands of customers it successfully supplies from the facility.

From 2022, the capacity will be increased to include the extremely popular aroTHERM plus air-to-water heat pump. Launched in 2020, the aroTHERM plus is one of the only products available in the market to use the natural refrigerant R290 with a Global Warming Potential of just three. Capable of achieving higher flow temperatures of up to 75 degrees, the award-winning aroTHERM plus is fast becoming one of the most popular heat pumps in the UK market.

Training and upskilling opportunities

Supporting this need for training and upskilling on heat pump technology Vaillant offers vocational courses to support the transition to new heating technologies as well as industry leading product training and CPD with its blended learning approach to knowledge about the decarbonisation of heat. This can be carried out online and in one of their six Centres of Excellence and other partner training locations across the UK.

Klaus Jesse, managing director for Vaillant Group UK and Ireland commented: “As a leading heating manufacturer, we take our responsibility to support the decarbonisation challenge very seriously.  Having been at the forefront of research and development of high efficiency gas appliances as well as heat pumps, Vaillant is also investing heavily in future hydrogen and green gas technology. There will not be one technology which singularly addresses the climate challenge, and it’s important that both the Government and the heating industry recognise and educate the market on the benefits of each technology, based on the needs of the customer and the property.”

Joe Dunn, plant director of Vaillant Industrial UK added: “This is a huge step forward for Vaillant in the UK. We currently manufacture an extensive range of highly efficient boilers at our award-winning factory in Belper, Derbyshire. This is a fantastic opportunity for our existing team to develop our skill sets ready for our product diversification and create new roles for the local area. As the demand for renewable heating technologies grows at an unprecedented rate in the UK, the Vaillant manufacturing facility will be well placed to meet the demands of the market, contributing to Government targets for the decarbonisation of heat.”

Business & energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “With home heating contributing around a third of all UK emissions, we need to support people to replace their appliances with lower carbon, more efficient technologies, such as heat pumps. Doing so will not only help the UK eliminate its contribution to climate change, but ensure our homes are warmer, more energy efficient and cheaper to run. 

“Today’s announcement from Vaillant is a significant boost to our plans to kick-start a heat pump manufacturing base in the UK so we can develop a range of new low-carbon technologies, create jobs and meet our all-important target of installing 600,000 heat pumps each year by 2028.”

Minister for investment Gerry Grimstone said: “This Government is committed to decarbonisation and Vaillant’s facility expansion will make an important contribution to efforts to build back greener.

“The UK has a long-standing history in the manufacture of heating appliances and Vaillant’s further investment is an endorsement of the UK’s competitiveness in the sector. This will not only help to meet the demand in a growing heat pump market, but also drive the creation of highly-skilled green jobs, future growth opportunities and exports.”

For further information on Vaillant’s aroTHERM plus heat pump, which will be manufactured at the Belper site, visit vaillant.co.uk/arothermplus