OVO and Sunamp’s Zero Carbon Home project has secured £1.6m in Government funding to develop a commercially viable smart electric central heating system
The project unites OVO’s intelligent energy management platform, VCharge, with Sunamp’s connected, super compact heat batteries which can store four times more heat than hot water tanks of the same size.
The proposed system uses Sunamp’s high energy density, high power density UniQ heat batteries to store heat generated from cheap, renewable electricity either via a heat pump or direct electric heater. A drop-in replacement for hot water cylinder and gas-fired boilers, the system will be controlled by VCharge, OVO’s intelligent energy management software that will optimise charging to use cheaper, renewable energy when it’s available.
VCharge collects stored energy, creating a Virtual Power Plant energy load that could provide grid services. Revenue can be earned through these grid services, and by sharing this value with consumers, and by buying only clean, off-peak energy, the running costs and lifetime costs of the system could be lower than those of gas heating.
90% of UK homes rely on burning natural gas for heating and collectively this represents over 25% of UK carbon emissions.
By making zero carbon electric heating commercially viable for the first time, the proposed system takes a significant step on the pathway to the decarbonisation of heat.
Energy and Clean Growth Minister, Claire Perry said: “By replacing fossil fuels with smart heating systems we have the potential to cut carbon emissions and save consumers money on their heating bills.
“This £1.6m grant to develop a commercially viable smart electric central heating system is part of our commitment to fund the cutting-edge industries of the future through our modern Industrial Strategy.”
Toby Ferenczi, Director of Strategy, OVO said: “Replacing a gas-boiler with a smart electric system is the most practical and low cost way to decarbonise heating.
“By combining VCharge and Sunamp’s UniQ Heat Batteries, power can be drawn down according to the needs of the grid, resulting in running costs comparable to gas heating systems but without carbon emissions.
“A recent study by Imperial College and OVO showed that smart, flexible residential technologies such as this could save the UK up to £6.9bn per year.
“We are excited to work with Sunamp to develop this game-changing smart electric heat solution.”
Andrew Bissell, CEO, Sunamp added: “It’s a fact that 81% of energy used in UK homes is for heating and we are delighted to team up with the UK’s leading independent energy supplier and bring our UniQ heat batteries together with OVO’s Time of Use technology – to help consumers take advantage of the cheapest electricity prices available for their heating.
“We aim to develop an accessible heating solution to deliver heating and hot water on demand and improve levels of comfort and lower fuel costs, energy consumption and carbon emissions in homes everywhere.”