Jun 2015
Gas Distribution
Combined Fuel Cell – Heat Pump Research Study
Jun 2015
Jun 2016
Alexander Webb, Innovation Project Manager
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Network Innovation Allowance
GD - Future of gas
Gas Distribution Networks
This project will conduct a comprehensive research study surrounding the potential development of a hybrid Fuel Cell – Heat Pump domestic heating system. This will include the following work conducted by Delta-ee:

    1. Review of current technology and products

      Conduct a review of available heat pump and fuel cell products along with options for boreholing during installation, preferred system design options with pros and cons of each and the current and future likely cost and performance data.

    1. Market research

      Key barriers, incentives and drivers for the product will be assessed and ranked. The leading potential market channels and business models will be identified. Customer attitudes to the technology will be explored through interviews with householders.

    1. Review of Housing Stock

      Identification and characterisation of key housing segments that would accept/ benefit from such a system.

    1. Carbon, cost and energy system modelling

      Review of customer capex (up-front cost) and opex (on-going costs), carbon savings, and an assessment of the possible cost/value to the electricity system, and the amount of flexibility and value of this flexibility in each key segment.

    1. Review of competing low carbon heating systems

      Assessment (with key sensitivities) of where a fuel cell – Heat Pump product can out-perform other low carbon, domestic energy system options in each identified housing segment.

    1. Opportunities, Barriers and Next steps

      A report will be compiled identifying and characterising opportunities and barriers, including (but not limited to) technological, policy, physical fit, householder acceptance, market size and routes to market and this will recommend next steps (or options with pros and cons of each).

A decision was made to include the specific learning from work package 1 to influence the questions to be used in the focus groups in work package 2. Previously the intention had been to submit the customer engagement plan while work package 1 was being conducted. The revised project timeline saw the customer engagement plan submitted to Ofgem for approval in October with the focus groups planned to take place in January. This resulted in a 3 month extension to the project duration.

Following our initial change request it became apparent that SGN had not properly anticipated the time required by Ofgem to complete the review of the Customer Engagement Plan (CEP) and Data Protection Strategy (DPS) documents that were submitted for approval. This approval is required prior to any interaction with, or data extraction from, the public - which the focus groups would require. Approval of the CEP and DPS was granted on the 22nd February 2016. The new project timeline has seen the focus groups pushed back to March 2016. This has resulted in an additional 2 month extension to the project duration. Resulting in a revised end date of June 2016.

The key objectives of this project are:

1. To determine the possible system configuration for a combined fuel cell – heat pump product, and to identify the preferred configuration(s).

2. To determine the proportion of GB households for which such a product would potentially be suitable.

3. To determine the potential environmental benefits (carbon reduction), consumer benefits (reduced heating costs) and assess the potential value to the electricity system.

4. To assess these benefits against benefits from alternative low carbon heating products.

5. To identify the key challenges in developing such a product and bringing it to market and to identify what actions are required to overcome these challenges.





The success criteria for the project are to:

  1. Produce comparative assessment of potential for a combined fuel cell - heat pump product (against other low carbon heating options) to potentially decarbonise heat, reduce consumer heating costs, and bring energy system benefits to GB.
  2. Outline scope for further work that may help to bring such a product to market, including key partners to involve, barriers that need to be overcome and an indication of the investment required.
  3. Learning to be disseminated to all key stakeholders and licensees through full project reporting via the Smarter Networks Portal and project reporting on request.

If successful the project could support the future development and network integration of a new low carbon energy technology.