A joint heat pump innovation project between Samsung, SMS and BOXT has been awarded funding by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
Financed via BEIS's Heat Pump Ready Programme, the consortium aims to improve the deployment of heat pumps across the UK and reduce both the cost and ease of installation of the technology.
The project - dubbed Clean Heat Streets - will be rolled out in Oxford in two phases. The first one will look at developing news ways to select the most optimal neighbourhoods for deploying the technology to ensure a high uptake of heat pumps.
While the second part of the project will connect 3,000 homes across Oxford with local installers, as part of a trial that will explore ways to in reduce the difficulties associated with installing an heat pump.
Samsung and SMS will be providing its know-how during this stage of the project to train BOXT' gas heating engineers, as well as working to ensure low-income households in particular will be able to benefit from the trial.
Aside from tackling both accessibility and affordability the project will be looking at the impact the technology has on the wider energy system. It will be working with the local Distribution Network Operator to identify any local network constraints as well look at the opportunities in using flexible smart control of heat pumps which could avoid the need for grid upgrades or connection charges.
Sam Hunt, director of new energy systems at SMS, said: “Providing heating and hot water in our homes accounts for around 15% of all UK emissions. So, if we are to realistically realise net zero carbon by 2050, heat is a critical source of emissions that we need to start reducing now.”
The UK is currently targeting the installation of 600,000 heat pumps per year by 2028, in an effort to reduce the use of gas boilers and thereby cut emissions.
To hit this target, the government is looking to lower the upfront cost of heat pumps and expand the sector in Britain to make sure supply can keep up with demand. This work was reaffirmed in the new Energy Bill - unveiled to parliament today - as government looks to bring down the cost of a heat pump by 50% by 2025, and down to parity with boilers by 2030,
While the cost and ease of installation of a heat pump may still be higher than that of a gas boiler, the running cost has dipped below it. Given surging gas pries, it is now £220 cheaper per year to run a heat pump than a gas boiler.