High heat pumps to replace gas boilers

Vattenfall and Feenstra have launched a high-temperature heat pump solution that can replace gas boilers.

The simple heat pump system could be an easy replacement for traditional gas central heating boilers, with a straight swap with conventional gas boiler meaning no additional costly retrofitting beyond the basic installation.

The all-electric solution will first be rolled out in the Netherlands next year, with the aim of introducing it to other countries later, and the similarities between Dutch and British gas central heating mean these heat pumps could be suitable for UK housing in suburban and rural areas.

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 C. 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.

But as Mark Anderson, commercial and development director at Vattenfall Heat UK notes, “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.”

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