Thursday 7 March 2024

We need a government that will take responsibility for net zero, says heat pump expert

We need a government that will take responsibility for net zero, says heat pump expert

We have the infrastructure in place that we can repurpose for heat pumps.

This is what Alastair Murray, CEO and Founder of clean technology company, Rendesco, told us in this week’s Net Hero Podcast.

‘There are lots of sites where you can repurpose the gas grid. We have the infrastructure going up to every single property in the UK, whether its for oil or gas.

‘And it’s imperative [that we use this infrastructure] because it’s the only way it’s going to work. We can’t dig up all the streets when you’ve got all this pipe work sitting there, which will be made redundant when we have to move away from gas.

‘And we’re doing lots of research and development (R&D) on how best to reuse it but it has to happen.’

Alastair told us that the government needs to better promote low carbon technologies.

‘If we went back 100 years and someone said, we’ve got this thing called gas and it explodes. We’re going to put in the pipe work to every single house around the country and it is going to cost billions. You’d look at them like they were insane.

‘At the moment, we’re in exactly the same position. But what we don't have is a government that really wants to take that challenge.

‘They want to set a date in 2050 which is far enough into the future that you never actually have to think of the details.

‘And you ask, well, are you going to plan for that? Are you going to invest in it? And they say that the market will sort it out.

‘At the moment, the government subsidises gas. So, if you look at electricity, most of the cost of electricity is levies of one sort or another. If you look at gas, it has none of that.’

Alastair told us that their current project in Welborne Garden Village uses the water network as the source of energy for heat pumps.

‘What we're doing at our site down in Welborne, that's 6000 homes that have been developed and we're using the water network there as the source of the energy. We're getting ten-degree water all through the year, which is really efficient.

‘But it also means that we're not having to drill all the boreholes, we're not having to dig anything up.

‘So, we have the reservoir about 600 metres from the site. We’re taking two pipes down to a central small building which has some pumps in it and a heat exchanger and that just gets pumped around the site.

‘And then every house that connects to it has its own heat pump in the house and it just uses that as the heat source and as the cooling source.

‘The heat pumps are about the size of a tall fridge-freezer. So, you have the hot water cylinder in the bottom part and then the heat pump in the top part. They will sit in a cupboard or in the kitchen and you could stand next to them and not know they are running so quieter than a fridge.’

Watch the full episode below and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter.

Written by

Garima Satija

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