Hybrid heat pump enabled running start in making Dutch housing sustainable

Published on 7 March 2017

The use of the hybrid heat pump can accelerate the sustainability of housing, parallel to the implementation of all-electric and heat networks. This will result in a considerable and accelerated carbon reduction on top of the objectives of the Energy Agreement. That was the conclusion of Berenschot and BDH in the ‘Routekaart hybride warmtepomp’ (Roadmap hybrid heat pump), which they have prepared together with the parties involved from all heat pump related sectors and professional groups.

Roadmap hybrid water pump: five main challenges

Berenschot and BDH have discussed the possibilities and challenges for hybrid heat pumps with the parties involved from all heat pump related sectors and professional groups. That has resulted in the ‘Roadmap hybrid heat pumps’. Assisted by the participants, the most important bottlenecks for hybrid heat pumps have been identified in this roadmap and a start has been made to formulate specific solutions. Together with the stakeholders, it is the express intention to elaborate further on these solutions and to implement them. The five main challenges are:

  1. Advising and knowledge level of the consumer
  2. Purchase price
  3. Standardisation (plug and play)
  4. Commitment and incentive for existing buildings
  5. Knowledge level and preference of the installers

It is important that the appointed players take action on challenges by working together on possible solutions. The possible solutions are further defined in the roadmap. This can result in an acceleration of the energy transition, even in the period of the Energy Agreement.

Hybrid heat pump first step towards a low natural gas society

There is currently a strong desire to base the heat supply of homes, now almost exclusively natural gas, on electricity. This is possible with an electric heat pump that pumps sustainable external heat inside. In practice, there are two possibilities: an all-electric heat pump (with no gas network, whereby everything runs on electricity) or a hybrid water pump (which is also electric, whereby the gas boiler sometimes helps out, for example on the coldest days).

Annually, approximately 400,000 gas boilers are sold, largely for existing buildings. Many of these situations are well suited to the hybrid water pump. Just like an all-electric heat pump, it runs on electricity and renewable heat from the air, but the peaks are covered by (possibly green) gas. This requires much less capacity from the electricity network. Moreover, a hybrid heat pump can make an important contribution to flexibility through smart control. Underfloor heating or extreme insulation is also unnecessary. Consequently, as the successor to the high-efficiency boiler it is an affordable solution in existing homes. This enables us to convert existing housing to all-electric and quickly make them sustainable. This in parallel with other options such as all-electric heat pumps in new buildings and heat networks in suitable areas. In addition, the hybrid heat pump offers a first stepping stone for advancement to all-electric where possible.

An efficient approach and adequate action to the challenges of the ‘Roadmap hybrid heat pumps’ can contribute to the objectives of the Energy Agreement and help to turn off the gas tap even further.

Rutger Bianchi

Rutger Bianchi