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New thread for heating in the future?

 
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stumuz1



Joined: 07 Jun 2016
Posts: 756
Location: Anglesey

PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2019 10:10 am    Post subject: New thread for heating in the future? Reply with quote

I don't know whether there is an existing thread for this?

We have threads for wind, solar, biomass, nuclear etc, all distinct forms of power.

However, I can foresee the government having to take a decision on central heating in the next couple of years. Eg, no new fossil fuel boilers to be fitted after 2025.

Now, what will the replacement be? Air source heat pumps look favourite at the moment, but are there alternatives that could be rolled out nationally.

Also, my faith in Governments to get things right when confronted with a genuine difficult issue is not great. An example being the pushing of diesel cars to reduce co2 but then realising not only people, but governments had been conned. Diesel-gate's das polluter vagon being a cogent example.

As 86% (BEIS) use gas in gas boilers as their main source of heating, is it feasible to scale up to heat pumps for all homes. The(tiny) bit of research i've done seems to suggest that the heat pumps are basically reversed aircon heaters so would be practical to fit and operate. Coupled with Kenneal standards of insulation could this be an answer?
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adam2
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Joined: 02 Jul 2007
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Location: North Somerset

PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2019 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am not convinced that we need a whole new sub-forum to talk about heating needs.
You, or any member are welcome to start a thread on the subject, or to add to an existing thread.

There is one in the electrical forum regarding the likely/proposed ban on gas heating for new build homes.

http://www.powerswitch.org.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=27098
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adam2
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2019 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heat pumps may be discussed here.

http://www.powerswitch.org.uk/forum/viewforum.php?f=7
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PS_RalphW



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
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Location: Cambridge

PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2019 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Air source heat pumps a possibility, but insulation is a far cheaper solution in the long run. I think the Labour party are proposing spending billions on this. Not that it looks likely that Labour will be elected, and the proposal has zero chance of surviving the political and economic fallout if they are.

The problem with heat pumps is that they increase demand on the grid significantly, and their efficiency is lowest when the weather is coldest, increasing the demand spike, and if the wind drops, requiring massive amounts of rapid response production capacity, almost certainly fossil fuel.

From an individual household view, it makes power cuts more likely, and they will be at the coldest times of the year, and will have maximum detrimental effects. (not that electrically controlled NG heating would work either).

Air source heat pumps are noisy. In summer they are likely to be put into reverse to provide air con, again increasing energy consumption.

Personally I still heat primarily with oil (no gas in the village) with efficient wood burner as secondary source, and bottled gas etc. for emergency cooking and lighting.

I could wire the oil heating controls onto an independent circuit so I could run them on battery/inverter during a cut, but the wood burner is enough to keep most of the house warm for a few days.
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kenneal - lagger
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Joined: 20 Sep 2006
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Location: Newbury, Berkshire

PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2019 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Once we have homes insulated to PassivHaus or close standards individual heat sources for each house are not so important or indeed viable. District heating from a deep well using ground source heat pumps or even geothermal in the right areas, such as Cornwall, with its granite radiation based heat, and Southampton, which is over a geologic hotspot, becomes more economic. We already have heat meters available in the market to facilitate this.

In some areas the geological heat may be sufficient to run electricity generation as they use in Iceland. This may make individual air source heat pumps a more economic solution. What would make the economics more accurate would be a tax on new materials so that the manufacture of new plant would have a more sustainable cost base. This would help sort out the economies of individual heat sources from centralised heat provision and distribution.

In a comparatively densely populated country like the UK centralised heat provision could be more economic over much larger areas than somewhere like the US where, with the exception of cities, the population is much less densely congregated.

Of course the economy may tank under the weight of climate driven catastrophes such as sea level rise before technology comes to our rescue and we may all, those of us who are left alive, end up using wood fuel again. Those of us who have invested in insulation and efficient wood burning technology will be at a distinct advantage here as we would have to spend less time on fuel collection, preparation and storage and more time on food sourcing.
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kenneal - lagger
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Location: Newbury, Berkshire

PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2019 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ralph makes the point about the lower efficiency of air source and shallow ground source heat pumps in winter when they are needed most.

This is where deep source ground source heat pumps come to the fore as the temperature of the ground at depth is constant throughout the year but the cost of installation makes then uneconomic for individual consumers unless they are a very large consumer. Spread over many houses though, using a district heating system, the economy and efficiency of the deep source becomes much better and the load on the electicity generating system becomes much less. The use of highly insulated heat storage tanks in each house together with a smart meter controlling the deep source heat pump's running would also allow for a much more even use of electricity.

But the insulation of the houses to a PassivHaus level, including the required airtightness, is the key to making any system work. After all, Negawatts are cheaper than Megawatts.
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