The heat pump is one environmentally friendly device that has gained more attention as energy and climate problems merge.
Heat pumps use electricity to move hot air to cool areas and vice versa in order to warm or cool a place. They do not generate heat as a furnace does. Sales of these products are soaring because of their energy efficiency and environmental friendliness, particularly in Europe where the continent is looking for ways to heat its homes and buildings after Russia cut the region’s supply of gas.
International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Director Fatih Birol stated in a news release introducing a new report on the device that heat pumps are an essential component of any plan to reduce emissions and the use of natural gas, and an urgent priority in the European Union today. Even in the coldest of climes, the technology has been tried and tested.
When driven by low-emission electricity, the devices are referred to as the key technology in the global transition to safe and sustainable heating in the paper, The Future of Heat Pumps.
The executive summary of the research states that even when fueled by the existing mix of fossil and renewable electricity, they still contribute to reducing emissions from heating because they are three to five times more efficient than natural gas boilers.
Ten percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions are currently attributed to heating buildings, and about ten percent of spaces are heated by heat pumps.
However, 2021 was a boom year for gadgets, with worldwide sales increasing by approximately 15% and about 35% in the EU. They anticipate record sales in 2022, and certain European nations saw a doubling of their first-half sales compared to the first half of 2021.
Read More: Innovative Company Wants to Drill 10 Miles Down to Replace Fossil Fuels With Geothermal Energy
The EU in particular has come under pressure to provide heat for its citizens this winter as a result of a decrease in Russian gas as a result of sanctions put in place by the bloc after Russia invaded Ukraine. But adopting heat pumps would also help the EU achieve its climate objectives. Sales of heat pumps in Europe could increase if this happens, from two million in 2021 to seven million in 2030.
According to Birol, policy makers ought to support this technology, which is currently gaining unheard-of velocity. In order to protect vulnerable households and businesses from excessive prices, meet climate goals, and ensure that everyone can heat their homes this winter and the one after, heat pumps will be a key component of these efforts.
What is beneficial to Europe is also beneficial to the rest of the globe. Overall, the IEA estimated that by 2030, heat pumps would provide one-fifth of space heating assuming governments uphold their obligations to the environment and energy security.
Heat pumps would provide 25% of the world’s heating needs by 2050 if nations increase their commitments in line with the Paris Agreement’s objective of keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. By 2030, heat pumps could, according to the EIA, cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 500 million tonnes, which is equivalent to taking all gas or diesel-powered vehicles off the road in Europe.
Another IEA analysis published Friday attributes a portion of the two percent increase in energy efficiency this year over 2021 to heat pumps. The agency stated in a press statement that this is roughly quadruple the rate from the previous two years and nearly double the rate from the previous four.
Three million heat pumps were acquired in Europe, which is double the 1.5 million bought in 2019, and the US Department of Health and Human Services launched a heat pump refund program, according to UPI.
Efficiency, one of the important areas for international efforts to reach net zero emissions by 2050, might hit a critical turning point in 2022 if the current rate of improvement can be built upon further in the next years, according to the IEA.
Read More: The World Cup: Is It Truly Carbon Neutral?
The IEA observed in the heat pump report that there are still obstacles standing in the way of the widespread use of heat pumps. Despite long-term cost advantages, installing heat pumps is more expensive upfront.
Other barriers include a lack of knowledge about the technology or antiquated building requirements, problems with the supply chain or manufacturing, and a shortage of qualified technicians. The IEA suggested a number of policy changes, such as incentives and tax breaks, modifications to regulations, national manufacturing targets, and the inclusion of heat pump installations in existing certification programs.
According to the news release, all the elements are in place for the heat pump market to explode, following the path taken by other critical climate technologies like solar PV and electric cars.
Many of the policy makers’ top worries regarding the cost of energy, supply security, and the climate issue are addressed by heat pumps. Although there are currently policy measures in place, they urgently need to be strengthened in order for heat pumps to realize their tremendous economic and environmental potential.