heat pump and air conditioning outside house
Think about heat pumps and it might be electrically driven heat pumps that you think of first. Heat pumps can, however, be driven by heat itself rather than an electrical compressor. That’s where thermally driven heat pumps (TDHPs) come in.
And while boilers are efficient, thermally driven heat pumps are a step above, capturing the low-grade heat from the surrounding air and combining this with the efficient combustion of gaseous fuels. So, what part do thermally driven heat pumps have to play in the future of the energy transition?
Steven Ashurst, Principal Analyst and manager of Delta-EE's Gas Heating Research, says, “products for business customers have been available for well over 10 years, so distribution [of thermally driven heat pumps] is quite established across several European countries as well as further afield. We’re at the point where there is an installed base of several thousand units in many countries.”
They are still a niche product though, so how will the distribution of TDHP grow in the future?
“We expect the thermally driven heat pump will replace conventional boilers in 10 to 15 years. Electric heat pumps will probably also take a third of the market,” says Stefan van Uffelen, CEO of Cooll Sustainable Energy. “The thermally driven heat pump in 2030 will also be a third of the market.”
This change will be accelerated by the increased focus on renovating existing buildings across Europe. The renovation wave is a big target of the European Commission over the decade but even in existing homes you can achieve 30-40% savings from a thermally driven heat pump.
Over the coming years the 20+ partners of the REHEAT-EU consortium, coordinated by Delta-EE & Element Energy, seek to demonstrate the contribution that TDHPs can make to the sustainable renovation of existing homes with the demonstration of more than 3,000 units throughout the EU.
To find out more, catch up on our recent episode of Talking New Energy, Thermally driven heat pumps: What are they and why are they important for the energy transition?