Helping our heating system break free from fossil fuels
Our heating system is trapped in an addiction to fossil fuels. Discover how we’re helping it to break free by transforming our heating with the help of algae and recycled heat.
Heating cities instead of the planet
How we heat our homes impacts not only our comfort at home, but our planet. That’s why Vattenfall aims to transform home heating.
In the UK, the heating sector currently accounts for almost a third of the country's annual carbon footprint. One reason for this is the fact that around 85% of UK homes have a gas boiler, which has resulted in 92 million tonnes of carbon dioxide being produced each year.
This could all change thanks to a new district heat network that Vattenfall started to develop in 2022 in south-east London where the heat will be supplied by energy from waste partner, Cory.
Making use of energy from waste means capturing waste heat from factories, sewage plants or commercial kitchens for example, and then recycling the heat through the district heating networks. This results in not only a lower carbon footprint compared to heat produced from gas boilers, but also reduction in fuel poverty and reduced air pollution. A large first step towards breaking cities free from fossil fuels.
How a new heat plant is lowering a city’s climate footprint
Vattenfall has inaugurated a new biofuel heat plant that will halve the climate footprint for the around 170,000 Uppsala residents, who are connected to Vattenfall’s district heating grid in the Swedish city. An impressive number for sure, but what’s also impressive is the fact that this plant will create a significant reduction in carbon dioxide and fossil carbon emissions compared to when peat and other fossil fuels were used.
The plant is an essential part, when it comes to phasing out fossil fuels from the heat production in Uppsala.
Carpe Futurum is considered a milestone in Vattenfall's work to phase out fossil fuels in its Swedish heat operation by 2025 and to reach net zero emissions within the entire company by 2040. The facility was inaugurated in 2022 and is a major step to replace peat with new fossil-free heat production that is based entirely on renewable and recycled fuels.
Homes heated by algae
Can algae heat homes? In Gustavsberg in Sweden, this became a reality in spring 2022 through Vattenfall’s SamEnergi service. In a partnership with AstaReal, Vattenfall supplies Gustavsberg residents with more than 20 per cent of their heating requirements through a solution that uses excess heat that comes from AstaReal’s algae cultivation. It’s a partnership that in an innovative way provides 2,500 new apartments with this algae heating solution.
By installing reversible heat pumps at AstaReal’s plant, it is possible to recover excess heat from the algae production process. This means that more than 15 million kilowatt hours of heat per year will be recovered and reused in Gustavsberg.
Revolutionising home heating – one pump at a time
High-temperature heat pumps can change the trajectory of home heating in the Netherlands – a country that’s highly dependent on affordable natural gas.
The high-temperature heat pumps not only have the possibility to break the homeowners and tenants free from gas-fired central boilers that can range up to and around approximately EUR 25,000, they’re also normally energy-cost neutral and makes the resident independent of the rising gas price.
“A single-family home can be made natural gas-free in two days with this new, innovative heat pump. To heat these homes with traditional heat pumps that supply low or medium temperature heat, expensive preparatory measures are required. In many cases, this means installing underfloor heating and/or extensive post-insulation of the home. Vattenfall sees that these costs, soon around EUR 25,000, the 'hassle' of the work and the long lead time are a major obstacle for homeowners to make the step to fully electric heating,” says Cindy Kroon, Head of Customers & Solutions Vattenfall in the Netherlands.