Demands for space and water heating constitute a significant proportion of the total energy demands in the UK and are currently predominantly satisfied through natural gas, which makes the heat sector a large emitter of carbon dioxide and therefore an important sector to decarbonise.
There are many alternative low-carbon heating strategy options for the UK, including the following:
- Energy efficiency (retrofits, improved efficiency standards for new buildings etc.)
- Heat pumps (including air-source, ground-source and water-source)
- Hybrid heat pumps (e.g. fuelled by natural gas and electricity)
- Direct electric resistive/electric storage heating
- Hybrid gas-electric heating
- Biomass boilers
- District heating networks (using waste heat from power plants and industrial processes; using biomass)
- Hydrogen (produced from renewable-powered electrolysis, SMR + CCS, biomass gasification with and without CCS); Different levels of injection into the natural gas grid; Repurposing the natural gas grid for 100% hydrogen; New build hydrogen networks; Hydrogen as a storage medium both for short-term balancing and inter-seasonal storage
- Bio-methane for grid injection (produced from MSW, landfill gas and other waste sources)
The aim of the project is to evaluate these different strategies using cost-benefit analysis as well as multi-criteria optimisation in order to compare different optimal scenarios, quantify trade-offs between different strategy options and determine a set of value chains for low-carbon heating that have the greatest potential for deployment in the UK.