The all-electric solution will first be rolled out in the Netherlands this 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.
High-temperature heat pump solution that can replace gas boilers
Many homes in the UK and the Netherlands are currently heated using a central heating boiler, which uses natural gas to heat the water that 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 37% of the UK’s carbon emissions
Heating accounts for as much as 37% 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.
Research conducted by Vattenfall in the UK last year found that just under a quarter 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 underfloor heating.
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.”