Large-Scale Electric Heat Pumps in District Heating Systems
The Heat Roadmap Europe (HRE) studies estimated a potential increase of the district heating (DH) share to 50% of the entire heat demand by 2050, with approximately 25–30% of it being supplied using large-scale electric heat pumps. This study builds on this potential and aims to document that such developments can begin now with technologies currently available. We present a database and the status of the technology and its ability of expansion to other European locations by reviewing experiences aimed at further research or application in the heating industry. This is based on a survey of the existing capacity of electric large-scale heat pumps with more than 1 MW thermal output, operating in European DH systems. The survey is the first database of its kind containing the technical characteristics of these heat pumps, and provides the basis for the analysis of this paper. By quantifying the heat sources, refrigerants, efficiency and types of operation of 149 units with 1580 MW of thermal output, the study further uses this data to analyze if the deployment of this technology on a large-scale is possible in other locations in Europe. It finally demonstrates that the technical level of the existing heat pumps is mature enough to make them suitable for replication in other locations in Europe.