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Guest Blog- Decarbonising Heat through Innovation
by Charles Morley from Netleadz
Heat is fundamental for our well-being, especially with the turbulent weather in the UK! However, heating, whether it’s domestic, commercial or industrial, contributes to a third of all UK emissions. So if we’re committed to achieving our goal of Net Zero emissions by 2050, this has to change. In order to do this, innovators have been focused on decarbonising heat through innovative, renewable and sustainable methods. Here we take a look at a few of these innovative technologies being used to decarbonise heat.
Infrared heating systems function by emitting infrared radiation from a heater which travels through air until it reaches an object. The object then absorbs this radiation which causes it’s molecules to vibrate and thus heat is produced. This can be done through a portable heater or by heating solid walls.
Since infrared heaters heat objects rather than the air, there is almost no heat loss, unlike conventional radiators which lose heat through hot water pipes. This means that infrared heating uses less energy to provide the same amount of heat as normal radiators, proving a more efficient option. Furthermore, this heating system is completely emission-free, and if used in conjunction with other renewable energy sources, could provide a whole building with completely clean heat.
However, something to bear in mind with infrared heating is that it works best when there are no obstructions between the people and the heater, similarly when people are stationary rather than moving around. Therefore these heaters work best in living rooms and bedrooms or for workspaces requiring little to no movement.
Heat pump systems do not produce heat, but rather use electricity to move heat from one place to another, in this case from the outside environment into a building.
There are a few different types of heat pump; some take heat from the air or the ground and some are combined with traditional gas boilers. The latter hybrid heating system works by automatically switching between the renewable heat pump or the gas boiler depending on which delivers the best energy efficiency at the time. All of these methods provide a more eco-friendly heating system than conventional methods alone.
Furthermore, this method continues to work even when its cold outdoors, and is even the most popular heating device in Sweden, which is known for chilly weather.
Despite the need for electricity in this process, heat pumps still have a better carbon footprint than conventional heating methods. The heat pump system operates at high efficiency; for every unit of electricity used, three units of heat are provided. This means less electricity is needed to heat buildings, so fewer fossil fuels need to be burned and therefore fewer carbon emissions are ultimately produced.
Biomass boilers work just like conventional gas boilers, except they burn sustainably sourced pellets of wood, animal or food waste to produce heat rather than gas.
Since around 8.5 million tonnes of wood is thrown into landfill each year in the UK, biomass boilers can help to reduce this figure, easing the pressure on landfills and further finding a use for wood that would otherwise be thrown away.
This process is sustainable as the amount of carbon dioxide emitted when burning the fuel is the same amount that was absorbed by the wood or waste when it was growing, essentially making the system carbon-neutral.
Despite the fact that fears about climate change and greenhouse gases have escalated over recent years, from these innovative heating technologies it is clear that the landscape of digital energy services is changing for the better, as we strive towards a greener future.