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High temperature heat pumps – the heating solution of the future

The EU – and the world, for that matter – is facing a huge challenge from climate change. In the 2009 climate and energy package based on the Kyoto Protocol, the EU set key targets for 2020: 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (from 1990 levels), 20 percent of EU energy from renewables, and 20 percent improvement in energy efficiency. The goal for 2030 is even more ambitious, increasing these targets to 50 percent each.

One of the main emission culprits in heating systems is the traditional boiler, which in most cases runs on fossil energy sources like gas or oil. There is increased pressure to find alternative solutions and migrate to more sustainable heating systems, both in the EU and elsewhere. For example, both the UK and Australia will ban the installation of appliances using primary energy sources from 2025.

Luckily, there are already viable alternatives on the market, like high temperature heat pumps. They are also commonly called “temperature boosters” – a specific type of heat pump that uses external energy to raise water temperatures to levels that are on par with traditional boilers. High temperature heat pumps can satisfy most residential, commercial and industrial needs, producing water with a temperature of 70–80 °C with high levels of efficiency and using renewable energy sources like wind, hydro or solar.

A polyvalent unit can produce both heat and cold
Replacing a boiler with a high temperature heat pump reduces the energy consumption by around 30 percent for year-round operations. In addition, at partial load the gain in efficiency is even higher, since heat pumps work more efficiently at lower temperature differences between outside and inside air. Add to this the fact that heat pumps can be run on renewable energy, and you will see a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emission from the heating system.

Temperature boosting heat pump operations can be optimized even further when combined with multi-functional polyvalent units, optimizing the system as a whole for increased energy efficiency levels in the plant. A polyvalent unit can produce both heat and cold, and when integrated into a system solution can transport heat between different parts of buildings, reducing the need for heat or cold production.

How long traditional boilers will fill a role in heating systems is unclear, but one thing is certain: units with high carbon footprint – like boilers – will be gradually phased out over time, if we are to reach the EU climate goals. Using a temperature boosting heat pump instead is a good way to come closer to those goals.