Reducing emissions from heating and hot water is crucial in the drive for greater business sustainability, says Tom Murray, head of public health sales team at Baxi Commercial Solutions.
The way in which we heat our buildings must change. But with a building stock that varies greatly in type, age, infrastructure and heating systems, heat decarbonisation remains a huge challenge.
The energy transition will require a combination of technologies and techniques if we are to enable a best practice approach that will prioritise performance every time. We believe that both electrification and green hydrogen – as well as heat networks in high density and build areas – will play a part in the future energy mix. Add to this the remaining pillar, energy efficiency, which is absolutely critical to reducing emissions and should always be the initial consideration when addressing existing buildings.
Low carbon heat pumps have a major role to play in the energy transition to achieve our sustainability goals and slow climate change. We see air source heat pumps (ASHP) as the most popular and cost effective choice of heat pump.
Heat pumps are particularly effective in well insulated buildings that are designed from the ground up to use low temperature heating. So when retrofitting heat pumps in older, draughty commercial premises, there are likely to be a number of challenges.
In these harder-to-heat buildings, where project and budget constraints may currently rule out an all-electric approach as a feasible option, a multivalent approach to heat and hot water generation should not be overlooked. Bivalent systems that combine heat pumps and boilers can reduce gas use by up to 70% (source: Greenhouse) with an associated drop in emissions, which will help businesses meet their sustainability goals. In time, the remaining natural gas use can be cut by using renewable gases, such as green hydrogen.
Hydrogen is one of the energy carriers that can play a key role in decarbonising heating. And while the focus to date has been on residential applications, we at Baxi now have the first-ever pure hydrogen boiler for commercial use ready for real-life trials.
The trials will demonstrate the different applications of our hydrogen boiler, when deployed at sites of local hydrogen generation and storage solutions, and/or in a multivalent set-up with a heat pump, in which hydrogen would cover the peak heat loads and reduce strain on the electricity grid.
For the first of the commercial pilots, we have joined forces with H2GO Power, a London based company developing innovative hydrogen-based software and hardware solutions, and Northern Gas Networks.
‘Heat-in-a-box’ is a containerised first-of-a-kind solution that combines electrolysis, H2GO’s proprietary low-pressure hydrogen storage and our Remeha Quinta Ace pure hydrogen commercial boiler. It will be hosted by NGN at their facilities in Low Thornley.
Decentralised hydrogen generation, storage and usage for heating provides a solution to the challenge of delivering low carbon heating solutions in harder-to-heat buildings. It also helps maximise self-generated renewable electricity, making it a particularly interesting solution for multiple use cases. This includes off gas grid public sector buildings, hotels and leisure centres that currently rely on more carbon-intensive fuel for heat.
A conversion kit for future hydrogen-ready boilers to switch from natural gas to 100% hydrogen in-situ is also in development to allow commercial users to prepare themselves for the energy switch and offer more options to decarbonise heat.
Supporting customers through the energy transition
While there is no silver bullet to heating buildings more sustainably, responsible manufacturers are responding with the necessary products, techniques and product development that will support the required mix of solutions and approaches.
We’re on hand to help businesses set their own pathway to decarbonisation. Taking action now is imperative. By working together and taking a holistic approach to heat, one that supports best practice at all times, we can help businesses achieve their sustainability goals.
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Remeha is part of Baxi Commercial Solutions