In the previous years, power-to-gas (PTG) potential has been the primary point of discussion, majoring in power-to-hydrogen and power-to-methane. Nevertheless, these technologies will not last for ten years, giving the proponents of the transition to renewables a sigh of relief. Experts argue that power-to-heat could accelerate the realization of an emission-free ecosystem. This technology circles the usage of power produced in running heat and cool systems like heat pumps and boilers.
Additionally, the latest technology infuses renewable power, thermal storage programs and smart load management through the doubling of power and heat industries to work together. The International Energy Agency admits that combining these two sectors resulted in the usage of ten percent upgraded renewable energy. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) concluded that close to two-thirds of the heating and cooling system needs were realized by fossil fuels like propane and fuel oil. For Europe, almost three-quarters of the demands were recognized by fossil fuels last year, with the remaining quantity coming from renewables.
Since heat pumps facilitate both heating and cooling needs using energy from any source, they are essential in the electrification of homes and industrial facilities. Various agencies and industry experts admit that the transition to renewables for heating and cooling will be achievable in the next three decades if the power sector’s infusion proceeds through the thermal storage systems, heat pump technology, and smart energy processes.
The IEA revealed that heat pump technology is taking shape with almost 20 million homes installing heat pumps with the highest sales going for units that additionally support air conditioning. Efficiency analysts submitted that the replacement of fossil boilers with heat pumps minimized the consumed energy by half. On the other hand, substituting a DC heating system with heat pumps reduced the energy consumed to 25 to 30 percent.
However, the IEA is skeptical of the quick transition to heat pumps, arguing that this move would create a new challenge on the current energy demands. Nevertheless, the power-to-heat technology is proving its efficiency with the latest application in large scale heating and cooling systems where power trickles from the grid or both heat and power facilities. This technology’s other advantageous application is in the manufacturing industry, where heat pumps and boilers obtain their power from the primary grid, solar infrastructure, or other energy storage media.
Sweden applied new technology where various buildings’ thermal flows connect to heat pumps tapping energy from the primary grid. EctoGrid, which champions for this technology, stated that it would minimize the energy needs in heating systems by 60 percent. Experts speculate that combinatorial energy storage technologies could effectively realize a reduction in energy consumption. Some of the technologies include sensible heat storage (SHS), underground thermal energy storage (UTES), thermochemical heat storage (TCS), and latent heat storage (LHS).
UTES technology’s practical application demonstrates how the system can capture solar energy during in summer season for Canada and distribute it to homes in the winter period.
Finally, IRENA hopes that power-to-heat technology can activate renewables’ uptake to cut the dependence on fossil fuels.