Heat pumps instead of oil and gas?
heat pumps instead of oil and gas?

Heat pumps instead of oil and gas?

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International

-DW News

|

Updated: Thursday, June 30, 2022, 16:12 [IST]

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Brussels,
Jun
30:

With
blistering
summer
temperature
around
much
of
Europe,
it
may
be
hard
to
convince
people
to
think
about
heat
pumps.
But
a
push
for
more
renewable
energy
plus
the
ongoing
war
in
Ukraine
and
the
curtailing
of
Russian
gas
and
oil
means
there
has
hardly
been
a
more
pressing
time.

A
heat
pump
is
a
system
that
moves
around
thermal
energy.
There
are
a
number
of
different
types
of
devices
based
on
what
they
use,
including
exhaust
air,
ground
and
water.

Heat pumps instead of oil and gas?

Ground-source
heat
pump
equipment
taps
into
the
nearly
constant
temperature
below
the
soil’s
surface.
These
geothermal
heat
pumps
draw
heat
into
a
building
in
winter
and
remove
warm
air
in
summer,
acting
like
an
air-conditioner.
This
type
of
system
uses
a
network
of
water-filled
pipes
that
are
either
laid
horizontally
a
few
feet
underground
or
pipes
drilled
vertically
much
deeper
into
the
Earth’s
core.

Advocates
say
the
systems
can
be
used
nearly
anywhere
and
are
cheaper
to
run
than
other
heating
and
air-conditioning
systems
like
boilers,
furnaces
and
electric
radiators.
As
energy
costs
skyrocket
they
are
a
way
to
access
energy
locally.
Most
important
for
many
customers,
heat
pumps
run
on
electricity
and
not
gas
or
oil.

Heat
pumps
made
in
Germany

The
heating
and
air-conditioning
manufacturer
Viessmann
is
showing
the
way.
It
is
one
of
the
market
leaders
in
Germany.
At
the
beginning
of
May
when
the
company
presented
its
annual
earnings
report,
it
announced
that
it
would
€1
billion
($1.05
billion)
more
in
the
production
of
heat
pumps.

Heat pumps instead of oil and gas?

The
company,
which
has
13,000
employees
worldwide,
recorded
a
41%
increase
in
sales
in
the
heat
pump
sector
in
the
past
financial
year,
while
total
sales
grew
by
just
21%
to
€3.4
billion.

These
figures
are
a
reflection
of
a
swing
toward
electric
heat
pump
technology.
Not
least
because
of
large
subsidies
from
the
federal
government
to
support
the
technology.
Originally
these
subsidies
were
designed
to
reduce
emissions
of
climate-damaging
CO2.
Now
increasing
energy
costs
have
put
these
incentives
in
the
national
spotlight.

The
initial
outlay
for
heat
pumps

Heat
pumps
are
significantly
more
expensive
than
gas
or
oil
heaters
because
their
technology
and
design
are
more
complex.
Installation
is
also
more
complex
and
takes
longer.
Many
components
are
located
outside
of
buildings.
The
buildings
themselves
must
be
well
insulated.
Underfloor
heating
systems
or
extra-large
radiators
make
a
heat
pump
more
efficient.

Heat pumps instead of oil and gas?

“In
almost
all
cases,
the
conversion
goes
hand
in
hand
with
structural
changes
and
often
with
a
more
energy-efficient
renovation
of
the
entire
building,”
Thomas
Auer,
a
professor
of
building
technology
and
climate-friendly
construction
at
the
Technical
University
of
Munich,
told
DW.

The
necessary
investments
can
quickly
run
into
the
tens
of
thousands
of
euros.
The
state
covers
up
to
35%
of
the
installation
costs
in
old
buildings,
and
45%
if
an
oil
burner
is
replaced.
Most
of
the
costs
for
a
professional
energy
check
are
also
reimbursed.

With
such
incentives
in
place
it
is
no
mystery
why
demand
for
heat
pumps
is
growing.
This
has
led
to
long
wait
times
for
an
energy
consultation
or
for
workers
to
come
and
install
a
system.
The
sector,
like
many
others,
is
facing
a
labor
shortage,
supply
chain
problems
and
sudden
price
hikes.

The
war
in
Ukraine
is
making
oil
and
gas
unpalatable

The
Russian
war
in
Ukraine
and
the
price
of
fossil
fuels
is
another
reason
for
increased
pressure
to
move
away
from
oil
and
gas
for
heating.
But
can
electric-powered
heat
pumps
solve
acute
energy
problems?

Heat pumps instead of oil and gas?

“There
is
a
very
simple
answer:
Heat
pumps
can
completely
replace
today’s
heating
technologies,
when
you
take
into
consideration
hybrid
heat
pumps
that
combine
gas
and
electricity,”
according
to
Thomas
Nowak
from
the
Brussels-based
European
Heat
Pump
Association,
which
says
it
represents
the
majority
of
the
European
heat
pump
industry.

Heat
pumps
are
one
of
the
key
building
blocks
for
the
energy
transition
and
for
making
the
building
sector
climate-neutral,
Christian
Stolte
from
the
German
Energy
Agency
(dena)
told
DW.
“Heat
pumps
use
renewable
energy
and
can
generate
three
to
four
units
of
heat
from
one
unit
of
electricity,”
he
said.

Taking
the
long
view
and
quickening
the
pace

Of
the
many
million
heating
devices
in
German
buildings,
just
over
a
million
are
heat
pumps
compared
with
more
than
19
million
gas
and
oil
systems.
To
meet
current
climate
targets,
4.5-6
million
heat
pumps
would
be
needed
by
2030.
The
German
government
has
set
a
goal
of
6
million.
That
is
indeed
a
tall
order.
In
the
past
10
years,
only
880,000
heat
pumps
were
installed
in
the
country
according
to
the
federal
statistics
agency
Statista.

“In
2021,
154,000
heat
pumps
were
installed.
That
is
at
least
28%
more
than
in
the
previous
year.
This
pace
must
pick
up,”
said
Stolte.
Still
even
the
massive
increase
in
the
number
of
heat
pumps
will
not
be
able
to
make
up
for
the
high
proportion
of
gas
and
oil
heating
in
buildings
in
the
short
term.

Heat pumps instead of oil and gas?

Energy
expert
Manuel
Frondel
from
the
Essen-based
RWI-Leibniz
Institute
for
Economic
Research
agrees.
“In
the
short
term,
heat
pumps
are
not
a
solution
to
making
us
less
dependent
on
Russian
gas
and
oil,”
he
told
DW.

In
new
construction,
heat
pumps
are
the
most
frequently
used
heating
technology
in
Germany,
well
ahead
of
oil
or
natural
gas
heating
systems.
But
new
buildings
represent
only
a
small
part
of
the
country’s
approximately
20
million
residential
buildings.
In
older
buildings,
retrofitting
heat
pumps
is
an
expensive
solution,
both
in
terms
of
initial
investment
and
operating
costs.

Even
the
massive
government
subsidies
do
not
change
that,
according
to
Frondel,
who
heads
the
Environment
and
Resources
department
at
RWI.
He
calculates
that
if
2
million
heat
pumps
were
subsidized
for
older
buildings
by
2024,
it
would
cost
the
government
at
least
€42
billion.
“Such
a
sum
cannot
be
justified
by
anything,
especially
not
with
climate
protection
arguments,”
he
said.

Keeping
out
the
cold
with
better
insulation

To
make
matters
worse,
there
is
no
guarantee
that
homes
with
subpar
insulation
will
actually
get
sufficient
heat
from
a
heat
pump.
“Experienced
heating
engineers
therefore
advise
against
installing
a
heat
pump
in
poorly
insulated
houses,
and
rightly
so,”
said
Frondel.
This
lack
of
efficiency
means
buildings
may
have
to
keep
their
traditional
heating
system
in
addition
to
any
new
heat
pump.

“For
every
single
household,
switching
to
a
heat
pump
is,
of
course,
a
big
step
forward
in
terms
of
independence
from
natural
gas,”
Jens
Schubert,
an
energy
expert
at
the
German
Environment
Agency
(UBA),
told
DW.

Using
more
renewable
energies
to
heat
and
implementing
more
measures
to
make
buildings
energy-efficient
should
be
encouraged
now
even
though
they
will
only
have
an
effect
in
the
medium
term,
he
argues.
Until
then,
customers
will
have
to
wait
in
line
to
get
their
heating
systems
updated
and
can
expect
a
big
installation
bill
afterward.

Source: DW

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