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Heat pump industry talks up higher capacity technology potential

Industry body says emerging range of new heat pump technologies for heating and cooling should be considered by EU policy makers as part of any viable lower carbon industrial strategy

Ongoing innovation to expand the capacity of heat pump technology for both industrial and commercial use can help realise European demand for waste-less heating and cooling, manufacturers have argued.

The claims have been made by the European Heat Pump Association (EHPA) during a special event earlier this month that brought together industry, civil society, and policy makers. The event discussed the role that heat pump technologies can play to address challenges in realising lower carbon buildings and functions around the EU.

A key theme of the discussion was the need for new policy approaches in Europe to consider their capacity and higher temperature heat pumps for addressing significant challenges to rethinking building design and functions.

The EPHA argued that these technologies, based on their growing use in sectors such as the dairy industry, reflected how heat pumps can reduce the footprint of energy-intensive industries.

Eric Delforge, chair of the associations working group for industrial and commercial heat pumps, argued during the event that waste-less cooling or heat generation could now be viably demonstrated in production processes through larger scale technologies.

Mr Delforge added that “bold policymakers” were required across the EU to push for greater consideration of heat pumps in energy intensive industries in a similar manner to how more efficient fridges and lightbulbs were once advocated.

Dr Paul Rübig, an MEP representing the European People’s Party, argued during the event that cooling and heating were widely recognised to be the most significant contributors of carbon emissions in the EU and required drastic new approaches in technology and political thinking.

He said, “The best energy is the one that is not consumed. Therefore, technologies should be promoted that further increase the energy efficiency of industry and households.”

From a purely heating perspective, Dr Veronika Wilk, a research engineer from the Austrian Institute of Technology, said pilot projects were already underway for realising higher capacity heat pumps that can deliver temperatures of up to 160 deg C for industrial drying.

Dr Wilk, who is also coordinator for the EU-backed DryFiciency heat pump project, said that investments in these prototype higher capacity technology was anticipated to be paid back in up to four years, while also delivering significant reductions in carbon output.

Higher capacity heat pumps were presently being built in separate demo sites, she added.

A second iteration of the EPHA’s brochure on the opportunities for larger scale heat pump adoption in Europe was due to be released by the middle of next month, the organisation said.

The UK government is meanwhile in the process of determining what role gas and electric technologies will play in trying to transform its buildings to meet ambitions to realise lower and zero carbon buildings over the next three decades.

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