The project focused on field trials of 75 hybrid heat pumps in South Wales, working with Wales and West Utilities, and Western Power Distribution in a £5.2 million project.
There are a range of scenarios and options for decarbonising electric heating ranging from electrification using heat pumps to using low carbon gases such as Hydrogen. Electrification can use renewable electricity to provide zero carbon heating but may require extensive network reinforcement to meet peak heating loads, whilst low carbon gases can use existing gas networks, but may be limited by the availability of low or zero carbon gas. Hybrid heating solutions combining a heat pump and gas boiler enable the majority of heating to be met from electricity, but use the gas boiler at peak demand times to benefit from the capacity of the gas network, reducing the reinforcement needs for the electricity system.
The key question
The Freedom project aimed to assess the potential of hybrid heat pumps to cost effectively provide heating to customers, whilst limiting network and energy system impacts.
What was needed
Assessing the potential benefit of hybrid heating systems to contribute to heat decarbonisation in a way that minimises disruption to the network and leads to lower energy costs for customers.
LCP Delta supported the project through multiple research areas:
- Assessing the technology solutions and suitability for different customer archetypes.
- Conducting customer research to understand the customer installation journey, and then operation phase.
- Analysis of monitoring data to determine the cost, carbon impacts and effectiveness of different operation regimes.
- Analysis of the loads and resulting technical and cost impacts on network reinforcement and network operation under a range of future market scenarios.
- Research into customer propositions aimed at hybrid heating solutions.
The LCP Delta difference
LCP Delta are international heat market experts and bought together a range of technical, social, and market research analysis skills to provide a holistic view on the hybrid heat pump solution being tested in the Freedom project. Drawing on our broader knowledge of heat propositions, our work with network companies, and understanding of domestic optimisation using HEMS (Home Energy Management Systems), smart tariffs, and flexibility services, we were able to bring together the many strands being investigated in Freedom to provide valuable insight.