What is the electrification of heat?
We know that one of the decarbonisation pathways identified is the electrification of heat. Much of the discussion has centred around heat pumps with the Government’s 10-point plan including the aim of 600,000 heat pump installations per year by 2028.
Despite heat pumps being the dominant technology, we’re seeing an increase in demand for electric boilers, particularly for clients wanting an ‘all-electric’ solution. But where do electric boilers best fit and how can you use them effectively?
Electric boilers are a proven technology; can be cost-effective when compared with other low carbon alternatives, and servicing and maintenance costs are low.
Electric boilers can be installed in places where there’s no mains gas network supply. They’re relatively light and compact and don’t need flues so there’s much more flexibility around where the boiler is sited. Installations are simple as they are compatible with existing wet heating systems and less costly than other options.
How are we seeing electric boilers being used?
· Some projects are using electric boilers as a ‘stepping stone’. If a site’s not ready to move to heat pumps or don’t have the budget for a complete system change but want to switch to electric heating.
· Electric boiler back up or top up to heat pumps – to enable an all-electric solution, electric boilers can be installed alongside heat pumps to provide a backup, or top-up, heat source.
· Immersion – smaller wall hung electric boilers can be used instead of an immersion heater in a hot water cylinder.
· For hot water generation – Electric boilers can also include a hot water tank within the unit or separately. They can store water in the boiler, enabling it to be heated overnight when energy costs are lower, and providing for hot water to be available more quickly and at higher pressures. Our E-tech S is a combined electric boiler and water heater.
How do our customers use electric boilers?
An electric boiler and cylinder combination
A five-storey office block in Newcastle was looking for a reliable way to supply hot water to 200 outlets including toilets, showers, basins, and kitchenettes, without access to gas. They previously used a hot water cylinder and inefficient immersion heaters to supply hot water around the building. Due to the demand placed on the system, the immersion elements couldn’t handle the work and kept burning out.
An electric wall hung boiler and fast recovery cylinder combination were chosen as the best system. Consisting of an ACV E-Tech 36kW three phase electric wall hung boiler providing the heat to a Smart 600 litre tank-in-tank calorifier.
Read the full case study here.
Mobile electric boilers
Temporary plant rooms and boiler hire has grown in recent years. They’re often used for emergency heating or to maintain services during a plant room refurbishment. Rapid Energy, a relatively new company in this area, has seen their business grow in line with this demand and discovered a niche sector with portable electric boilers.
Sami Kasap, chief marketing officer and co-founder of Rapid Energy, comments “Their main use on construction sites is to help reduce the drying time of screed. However, the ACV E-tech W 15kW wall hung electric boiler being available as single phase makes it ideal for housing developments, so they’re also used for temporary heating and hot water for the construction staff working on these projects.
More recently we’ve seen customers use portable electric boilers to provide hot water for pressure testing the pipework in a building before hand over.”