Looking to the future of heat pumps

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  • Date:2022/08/02

Looking to the future of heat pumps.png

1. Overview of the global heating industry

  • Heating is the world's largest end-use energy sector. According to the International Energy Agency, in 2018, heating accounted for 50% of global final energy consumption and 40% of global carbon dioxide emissions. In the heat consumption, the industrial sector accounts for about 50%, the building and housing (mainly used for space heating and hot water supply, and a small amount for cooking) accounts for about 46%, and the rest is accounted for by the agricultural sector.

  • Heating and cooling systems are one of the largest sources of energy used in most homes around the world. In Europe, they account for 50% of total energy consumption, of which about 80% is still based on fossil fuels. Electricity usage for heating and cooling is lower in the U.S. at around 31%, but that's still significant, and many homes still use natural gas and oil directly for heating. The U.S. alone produces about 441 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, from our heating and cooling needs alone.

  • Global energy consumption for space heating and hot water supply has remained largely stable since 2010, with heating energy intensity (i.e. final energy consumption per square meter) falling by around 2% per year. The continuous improvement of building energy regulations in Canada, China, the European Union, Russia and other countries and regions has improved building energy efficiency, which is the main reason for the reduction of heating energy intensity.
  • Between 2010 and 2019, the global heating market continued to be dominated by fossil fuel heating and traditional electric heating. By 2019, fossil fuel heating equipment and less efficient traditional electric heating equipment combined will account for nearly 80% of the total global heating equipment sales, and carbon-intensive and inefficient heating technology is still the mainstream of global heating technology. The proportion of heat pumps and renewable energy heating increased, and heat pumps and renewable energy heating equipment accounted for more than 10% of the total sales of heating equipment in 2019.
  • The European heat pump market is growing. Following a 12% increase in 2018, nearly 12 million units are now installed, accounting for less than 10% of all building heating (only 4.5% of heat in the UK comes from heat pumps). According to market insights from the European Heat Pump Association, this European market is expected to double by 2024.


2. Development Trend of Global Heating Industry

1) The heating system focuses on energy integration and improvement of energy efficiency

  • Among various comprehensive energy technologies, energy efficiency technology is one of the important ways to promote energy conservation and emission reduction. Improving energy efficiency is the focus of attention in the heating field. Boilers are common industrial production and civil equipment on the energy supply side. They use the heat energy or other heat energy released by fuel combustion to heat working water or other fluids to certain parameters to meet the heating demand. Compared with ordinary boilers, the greenhouse gas emissions of condensing boilers are also significantly lower, which has environmental advantages. Data from the International Energy Agency shows that in recent years, condensing gas boilers in heating systems have gradually replaced coal-fired, oil-fired and traditional gas-fired boilers. The efficiency of the former is as high as 90% to 95%, and the efficiency of the latter is usually 85%. about.
  • District heating is highly flexible in the energy value chain and is a very effective way to integrate various heating sources while improving energy efficiency. Today, countries such as Denmark, Finland, France, Latvia, and Lithuania are gradually developing fourth- and fifth-generation low-temperature heating networks. The new generation of heating networks pays more attention to the flexibility and diversity of heat sources and enhances the connection with the power grid and gas network in the energy system. Sectoral coupling to enable better integration of heating systems and other energy systems, renewable energy sources and locally available various industrial waste and waste heat to optimize heating system efficiency.
  • Take Denmark for example. Denmark is one of the most energy-efficient countries in the world. The Danish district heating system integrates all available renewable energy and waste heat resources, including solar electric boilers, solar heating, gas, internal combustion engines, heat pumps and other forms of heating. Make full use of heat storage to ensure the flexibility of the district heating system. In the future, its district heating technology will completely abandon fossil fuels and form an efficient multi-energy smart energy network.


2) Application of heat pump to promote electrification of heating

  • Electric energy is a clean and efficient secondary energy that will occupy a central position in the future energy system. Improving electrification is the key to promoting clean and low-carbon development in the end-use energy sector. The principle of heat pump technology is to use the thermal cycle process to transfer low-temperature heat sources (such as outdoor air, circulating water or ground thermal energy) to high-temperature objects for heating water or heating. Compared with the fossil fuel heating scheme, the carbon dioxide emission of the heat pump is significantly reduced, and it is obviously more energy-saving and environmentally friendly. The thermal efficiency of the heat pump can reach more than 300% throughout the year, while the thermal efficiency of the boiler will not exceed 100%. The large-scale application of heat pump technology in the heating field can improve the level of heating electrification and accelerate the clean and low-carbon development of the heating system. It is one of the most realistic carbon reduction paths in the current heating field.
  • Heat pumps currently meet nearly 5% of the world's heating demand. From the perspective of development trends, the heat pump market is continuing to grow. According to the sustainable development scenario of the International Energy Agency, heat pumps are the fastest growing heating technology in the future. Low carbon and carbon dioxide emission reduction are the primary drivers for the development of heat pumps. In countries such as Germany, the heating area of ​​heat pumps in new buildings continues to exceed that of gas heating. Under the pressure of low carbon and emission reduction, this trend is continuing to expand in many countries. Countries such as the Netherlands and the United Kingdom have begun to gradually reduce or even ban the installation of gas wall-hung boilers. In 2019, nearly 20 million households worldwide purchased a heat pump, up from 14 million in 2010. In Europe, sales of heat pumps have increased by 25% in just two years, with higher sales of air source heat pumps. In addition, the number of ground source heat pumps installed in Europe reached 2 million units in 2019. In countries such as Sweden, ground source heat pumps have become the mainstream technology solution in the heating market, and their maturity is driving the transformation of the heating sector.


3) Renewable energy heating continues to grow

  • Renewable heat sources can be used both in decentralized heating installations in buildings and in district heating systems. Data from the International Energy Agency shows that between 2009 and 2018, the renewable energy consumption of global district heating systems increased by more than two-thirds, and by 2018, renewable energy accounted for nearly 8% of global district heating energy consumption. . This is mainly due to the massive conversion of district heating systems in European countries from fossil fuels to renewable energy in recent years.


1. Biomass energy heating

  • Biomass is by far the largest renewable heat source in the world. In 2018, modern biomass accounted for more than two-thirds of global heat consumption from renewable energy sources. There are 10 countries in Europe where renewable energy heating accounts for more than 30% of the total heating energy demand (Sweden accounts for as high as 70%, Finland, Latvia and Estonia also account for more than 50%), biomass energy It plays a huge role in the heating system of these countries.
  • At present, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and other countries are the regions with the highest biomass energy heat production efficiency and the most advanced equipment level in the world. These countries have many efficient biomass energy cogeneration plants and household fireplaces. In Germany, larger biomass heating plants can provide heat energy to energy consumption terminals, especially buildings and industry, through a well-connected heating network. These heating plants meet the heating demand first, and the electricity demand second. On the other hand, the smaller-scale biomass energy cogeneration equipment (processing solid biofuels through thermochemical gasification technology) is mainly for power generation, generating effective waste heat while generating electricity to meet the heating needs of users. Driven by various government subsidy policies, small biomass cogeneration equipment has been widely used in households, office buildings and industrial production in recent years.


2. Solar heating

  • Solar energy is the fastest growing renewable heat source in the world. Over the past decade, the cumulative global installed solar heating capacity has grown by 250% to more than 480 GW(thermal), but the growth rate has slowed in recent years. In 2018, solar heating technology met 2.1% of the global demand for space heating and hot water supply. Solar combined heat and power (PVT) technology, which couples photovoltaics and photothermal, is emerging and is expected to expand into the traditional solar heating market.
  • The majority of solar heating installations are small domestic solar heating installations (used to provide hot water for single-family homes), with standalone solar water heaters dominating the global solar heating market. At the same time, large-scale solar heating devices are in the early stage of large-scale development, and are in the rapid development stage in Denmark and Nordic countries, and are increasingly appearing in district heating systems. In 2018, 15 large-scale solar heating projects were put into operation around the world. Large-scale solar heating systems are often economically superior to smaller systems. Most of the super-large solar heating projects are seasonal heat storage projects. As of the end of 2018, the four largest solar heating projects in the world were all seasonal heat storage projects. Denmark is a typical representative of the application of solar heating in district heating systems. Since 2010, the installed solar heating capacity of the district heating system in Denmark has increased tenfold.


3. Geothermal energy heating

  • From a global perspective, although geothermal energy is currently the smallest renewable heat source, the direct use of geothermal energy for heating only meets 0.3% of the global heating demand, but the installed capacity of geothermal energy is continuing to grow. Global installed geothermal energy heating capacity grew by 1.4 GW(thermal) in 2018, reaching a total of 26 GW(thermal) by the end of the year.
  • The European geothermal energy heating market grew rapidly in 2019. Europe is a major market for geothermal district heating. According to the "European Geothermal Market Report 2019" released by the European Geothermal Energy Commission (EGEC), in 2019, the installed capacity of geothermal energy in 327 district heating systems in 25 European countries reached 5.5 GW (heat), of which Greece, Spain , Italy, the Netherlands and other countries have built new geothermal district heating projects. Compared to 2018, there are many new planned projects across Europe.


(4) Accelerate the exploration and application of hydrogen energy heating

1. Alternative to pipeline natural gas heating

  • Fossil fuels are still the main heating energy source in the world. Hydrogen is an extremely high-quality energy storage medium, and the use of hydrogen to replace natural gas for heating is one of the most potential directions to realize the low-carbon transformation of the heating system. And some studies have shown that the existing natural gas transmission and distribution network can be used for hydrogen transmission with little or no modification, which provides a strong facility guarantee for the gradual replacement of pipeline natural gas by hydrogen.
  • British gas network companies Cadent and Northern Gas Networks are working with Statoil on the hydrogen heating demonstration project H21. The project plans to build 9 sets of 1.35 GW scale of natural gas autothermal reforming hydrogen production units in Leeds on the north coast of the United Kingdom and supporting carbon capture and storage (CCS) facilities. The City of Leeds plans to retrofit its residential heating network infrastructure to deliver hydrogen from 2028. Through rational planning of the hydrogen transmission and distribution network, it is expected that the project can replace all the natural gas needs of the 3.7 million residents of Leeds for heating, industry and power generation.


2. Deploy a fuel cell cogeneration system

  • When hydrogen is used as a fuel cell raw material, its energy conversion efficiency is 1-2 times higher than that of gasoline internal combustion engines, and the advantages are quite obvious. The downstream of fuel cells mainly includes three major application markets: stationary, mobile and transportation. Stationary applications of fuel cells, especially domestic cogeneration, are growing rapidly. Micro fuel cell cogeneration device is an important branch of fuel cell stationary applications, and it is also a new type of distributed energy technology with great potential. The device is installed at the user's end to generate electricity, and at the same time as generating electricity, it also generates heat energy to meet the domestic heat demand. By combining the power generated by the fuel cell with the heat generated by the work, the overall energy utilization efficiency of the system can exceed 90% even with a small output power.
  • Europe has successively promoted fuel cell cogeneration systems through Ene-field and PACE demonstration projects, and has deployed about 10,000 fuel cell micro cogeneration units. The four major European fuel cell cogeneration companies Bosch, SOLIDpower, Vaillant and Viessmann have a production capacity of over 1,000 units per year. According to the European Hydrogen Roadmap developed by the European Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Organization (FCH-JU), more than 2.5 million fuel cell cogeneration units will be deployed in the EU by 2040. In Germany, in 2016, the government passed the kfW433 subsidy act to subsidize fuel cell cogeneration units that meet performance requirements. The subsidy can reach up to 40% of the cost, and requires the total efficiency of the fuel cell system to be higher than 82% and the service life to reach 10%. year. As of 2018, there were 2,600 fuel cell cogeneration units. In Japan, a micro-cogeneration system named ENE-FARM based on fuel cell technology has been commercialized since 2008, with households and small businesses as the main target group, and the government subsidizes. As of early April 2019, ENE-FARM With a deployment volume of 305,000 units and a combined heat and power efficiency of 97%, it has become one of the most successful fuel cell commercialization projects in the world. Japan plans to deploy 1.4 million sets of household fuel cell cogeneration units in 2020, at which time subsidies will be fully abolished.


3. Hydrogen production from renewable energy for heating

  • Recently, British gas network operator SGN launched the world's first project to directly use offshore wind power to produce green hydrogen energy for heating. The test relies on the Levenmouth Offshore Wind Power Test Project in Scotland. The wind farm supplies electricity to a hydrogen production plant, and the hydrogen produced is used to heat 300 homes in Fife, Scotland. Offshore wind power can provide large-scale clean energy, solving a key challenge for the sustainable growth of hydrogen. Renewable energy hydrogen production provides a new heating idea, which can help the region to reduce emissions and decarbonize.


3. Outlook

  • In order to achieve the development goal of the International Energy Agency's Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS), which is to limit the global average temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius, by 2030, the world, including heat pumps, low-carbon district heating systems, renewable energy and hydrogen energy The proportion of clean heating technology in China needs to be greatly increased, and heating equipment such as heat pumps, solar heating, biomass boilers, hydrogen boilers, and fuel cells should account for about 50% of the sales of new heating equipment. At the same time, the International Energy Agency estimates that in the next decade, in addition to improving the building envelope, the deployment of low-carbon and high-efficiency heating technologies can help reduce the global heating energy intensity at an average annual rate of 4%. By 2030, the combined effect of efficiency improvements, fuel switching and decarbonization of the power sector is expected to reduce carbon emissions from building heating by 30%.





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