Funded as part of the BEIS Energy Innovation Programme, the Electrification of Heat Demonstration Project is expected to recruit enough participants to install and monitor 750 heat pumps across representative range of housing archetypes and social groups, with the majority on the gas grid, in order to understand the technical and practical feasibility of a large-scale rollout of heat pumps.
Heating accounts for 37% of total UK carbon emissions, with heating for buildings responsible for over half of that figure at around 20%.
To achieve Net Zero emissions targets, analysis by the Committee on Climate Change suggests all heat in buildings needs to be decarbonised by 2050.
With 87% of households on the gas grid, replacing fossil-fuelled gas boilers with heat pumps can make a very substantial contribution in achieving this target, alongside district heating and converting the natural gas grid to deliver hydrogen.
However, the heat pump market in Great Britain is small and consumers, particularly those living on the gas grid, have been slow to switch to the technology.
Currently only around 20,000 homes convert to low carbon heating each year.
That figure needs to reach 1 million annually during the 2020s.
Energy Systems Catapult previously delivered the £20 million Smart Systems and Heat programme, which looked into overcoming the barriers to the decarbonisation of residential heat.
As Management Contractor,the company will provide overall project management and manage, monitor and coordinate three Delivery Contractors (yet to be appointed) on behalf of BEIS.
This will include developing a shared approach with the Delivery Contractors on participant recruitment, while leading the design of the home suitability surveys, installation and monitoring processes, as well as collating, managing and analysing data and disseminating the project findings.
The project will run until March 2022.