Combined Heat & Power

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Energy Efficiency

Heat Networks

BEIS release study on alternative heat solutions

12 April 2019

As part of its wider research into heat decarbonisation, The Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) commissioned Ramboll Energy to explore possible technologies able to convert a UK town to low carbon heating and to analyse the costs, practical constraints and challenges associated with each of them.

The ADE will be publishing a briefing for members on this shortly. 

The technologies analysed were:

  • hydrogen with carbon capture and storage combined with electric cooking
  • hybrid heat pumps with gas cooking
  • electric heat pumps and electric cooking
  • district heating from biomass and heat pumps


Tackling climate change requires action across industrial, energy supply, buildings and transportation sectors. Roughly half of the final energy consumed in the UK is used to provide heat (DECC, 2011). Around three quarters of the energy used by households is for space and hot water heating, over 80% of which is met using natural gas-fired boilers. Therefore if the UK is to remain on a path consistent with avoiding the damage to the economy, society and public health we need to virtually eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from our buildings by 2050, and to see deep reductions in emissions from industrial processes.

While natural gas will supply the majority of our heat demand well into the 2020s, cutting emissions from buildings and industry means taking the carbon out of heat in the longer term, managing demand through energy and resource efficiency, and replacing fossil fuels with low carbon alternatives. The role of natural gas as the primary fuel for heating will therefore need to decline significantly over the period and a transition to other low carbon heating solutions will be required on an unprecedented scale.

The objective of the research undertaken is to increase understanding of the costs and key cost drivers of different technical solutions for small and medium sized towns. This is intended to generate insights to help focus and prioritise further work on heat decarbonisation approaches. An improved understanding of the cost and carbon reduction performance of different technologies applied to small and medium towns will enable more robust decisions to be made around their development and deployment as both technologies themselves, and their markets (i.e. costs), evolve.

This research aims to characterise technology solutions for the selected town and identify costs, practical constraints and challenges associated with each of the technology solutions considered.

Read more here.

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