The End of the Gas Boiler?
Over the past few years, as an industry, we have seen the rise in renewable products in order to meet the buildings need for heating. Whilst this has been a very positive step change from using traditional gas and oil boilers, is it always a practical solution?
With the introduction of NZEB (Nearly Zero Energy Buildings) which impacts massively on the design of new builds and deep retrofit projects, heat pumps have been the go-to in terms of the technology of choice. Here at Euro Gas, we have been really busy helping design engineers and contractors facilitate this legislation and working hand-in-hand to deliver projects which work hydraulically whether they are using only heat pumps or hybrid solutions combined with either gas boilers or gas fired water heaters. The question remains… does this signal the end for gas boilers?
As a company who has built our business on gas boilers, water heaters and system integration technologies, you may assume we have a vested interest in these technologies, but we admit there is good reason for that.
We firmly believe that heat pumps cannot be the only solution. With existing buildings needing higher flow temperatures we must look at more “traditional” ways to heat the building whilst also looking to be as energy efficient as we possibly can be.
The solution does not have to be to move to 100% heat pump. With a hybrid approach you can look to merge together the traditional condensing boiler with heat pumps. When the Irish weather charts are analysed, it is clear that the times in which we see really low, sub-zero temperatures, are few and far between. Even when we do see these temperatures it might only be for a small proportion of the day. When a hybrid approach is taken, it is possible to size the heat pump to become the lead generator in the times when the outdoor temperature is more kind to the technology. The benefit of this approach is that it will keep the physical size of the heat pump down but it will also reduce the overall capital cost of the project. The boiler can be used to kick in and manage its way through these colder periods which then allows the heat pump to take the lead when the conditions mean that the compressors are not having to work as hard. Whilst this still means that fossil fuels are being used, they are used sparingly and in an effective manner.
Manufacturers are also working really hard in the background to ready themselves for the introduction of Hydrogen which we see will play a huge role in the future. In fact, the majority of these manufacturers have already managed to get their products ready to receive up to 20% hydrogen through their current ranges. But here and now what can we be doing to help to make the overall system more efficient?
We have been very successful with the Spirotech range of products, which focus on removing air and dirt from systems which has proven to reduce gas consumption by up to 13%. From domestic sized units right up to large industrial sizes, the concept is the same. Remove as much air as possible, which in turn reduces the ability for dirt to form in the system. The net result is a system that functions much more efficiently.
For water heaters, the killer for efficiency is the build-up of scale. Limescale can build quickly in domestic hot water circuits, which not only affects the heating source, but also the internal pipework and other components in the line. Studies have shown that a 1mm layer of limescale will cause a 7% increase in energy input to the heat source. The Aquabion unit works by agitating the water in a self-cleaning effect releasing minute amounts of high purity zinc ions, which react with calcite. Calcite crystals are modified into adhesion natural aragonite, which is simply discharged into the water meaning the scale is not allowed to collect and harden. Through independent tests it has been proven to offer savings of up to 55% of energy costs.
With solutions like these working hand-in-hand with more traditional technologies, existing buildings have the ability to not only produce heating and hot water in the most practical way possible, they also have the chance to make their overall systems much more efficient.
All this goes to prove that there is life in the traditional boiler yet!
For more information on any of the solutions outlined here, or to discuss this further with one of our Sales team, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.