Air-source heat pumps are by far the most cost-effective, low carbon means of heating European homes, with household energy bills likely to cost around half that of running hydrogen boilers, research by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) has claimed. Decarbonising how homes and buildings are heated is seen as a major challenge on the pathway to net zero emissions for many countries in Europe, including the UK. Technologies such as heat pumps and hydrogen boilers – both of which would need to rely on renewable electricity in order to be considered ‘green’ – are therefore being touted as potential greener replacements for fossil fuel gas, sparking a major lobbying battle over which option is most likely to dominate the market in the decades ahead. ICCT’s study today wades into that debate with an analysis that suggests even if natural gas costs were 50 per cent lower and renewable electricity prices 50 per cent higher, heat pumps would still be the front runner option for heating homes in terms of operating costs, compared to green hydrogen-only technologies. Including installation, maintenance, and electricity bills, it estimates heat pumps would cost around €579 a year for the average single-family household in the EU, while the total average costs for a hydrogen boiler would come to around €1,271 each year. Moreover, heat pumps were also found to be more efficient than hydrogen boilers, because the former transfer rather than generate heat. The study estimates heat pumps would be around three to six times more energy efficient than renewable hydrogen boilers in EU homes, due to efficiency losses in the production, storage, and transportation of green hydrogen.
Business Green 11th March 2021 read more »