Industry bodies and manufacturers are announcing a range of schemes during and around the global climate change conference to push market awareness of their systems for low carbon heat
Major manufacturers and installers of heat pumps are expanding their investment and commercial focuses on the technology as countries such as the UK seek to expand uptake over the next decade.
A range of commitments have been seen over the last month from companies in particular that are looking to expand awareness and commercial interest in heat pumps.
This includes Stiebel Eltron, Glen Dimplex Heating & Ventilation, Vaillant and Daikin, , which are all presently sponsoring a tour overseen by the European Heat Pump Association’s (EHPA) to build awareness of the technology in a range of European countries.
A major focus of the tour is to demonstrate – using VR technologies – how heat pump systems function and can help support closer integration of heating systems with renewable energy. The event has travelled from Düsseldorf in Germany to London and has this week moved to Scotland.
The tour coincides with the COP26 International Climate Change Conference taking place in Glasgow this month with the aim of setting out new government and industry commitments to reduce carbon emissions on a global scale.
Thomas Nowak, secretary general of the EHPA, said the tour reflected growing interest in heat pumps as a market ready means of moving away from fossil fuels.
He said, “Heat pumps are a key enabler for the decarbonisation of buildings and industrial processes.”
“The technology is reliable and mature and is already deployed in quantities. Solutions are ready for all new and renovated buildings. We are confidently looking forward to a more sustainable future, where the majority of buildings in Europe are run off heat pumps rather than oil and gas.”
The UK Government committed in its delayed Heat and Buildings Strategy to start offering £5,000 government grants from 2022 to encourage heat pump installations in up to 30,000 homes over a three-year period.
This is expected to begin to address a target for 600,000 heat pumps to be installed annually across the UK from 2028, although there has been some industry concern about the current scope of planned incentives to reach this target.
Alongside the sponsorship of the heat pump tour, manufacturers such as Mitsubishi Electric have pledged over the last month to invest £15.3m in its Scottish production operations to support the manufacture and development of new heat pump solutions.
The investment, backed with support of the Scottish Enterprise agency, is expected to help address demand for more efficient, lower carbon heat solutions in the UK and Europe.
In October, UK-based installer British Gas announced it would meanwhile be signing up to Refcom’s F-Gas register in order to address potential demand for heat pump installations across the country through its social housing subsidiary, PH Jones.
PH Jones said it currently maintains heating solutions across 195,000 UK homes and expects a significant increase in the use of heat pumps in social housing. The company said, in announcing its decision to join the Refcom register, that it was looking to actively recruit to expand its engineers able to support heat pump technologies. Natural gas boilers are presently used for the majority of the UK’s domestic heating demand.
Matt Isherwood, director with PH Jones, said that there was an acute skills shortage in supplying low carbon heat solutions in UK homes with British Gas now looking to rapidly expand its installer capabilities.
He said, “As well as bringing new engineers into the sector, we also need to upskill our existing workforce, particularly those already involved in boiler installations and other ‘traditional’ heating projects.”
“They will be crucial to delivering high performing heat pump systems in line with the government’s ambitions, but the technology does require specialist skills. We recognise the importance of making sure everyone working for us is properly trained, accredited, and able to comply with legislation.”