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Promoting clean and energy-efficient solutions for households

As our world and climate continue to change, Europe must deliver solutions for a sustainable and secure use of energy. Heat pumps using green electricity can play a major role in supporting this goal.

Climate Change and Environment icon Climate Change and Environment
Industrial Technologies icon Industrial Technologies
Energy icon Energy

Heating and cooling systems are the largest part of energy use in most homes throughout the world. In Europe they are responsible for 50 % of total energy consumption, with 80 % of household energy consumed still based on fossil fuels. Heat pumps offer a mature technology that is more efficient than using boilers, by extracting energy from the outside air or ground to warm the inside of a home or workspace. They can also work in reverse, to cool a building by transferring heat from indoors to the outside air or into the ground. Heat pumps have an important role to play in our net zero future. The European Commission report on the competitiveness of clean energy technologies indicates there is a growing need to accelerate the roll-out of all types of heat pumps, from those designed for single-family houses, large multi-apartment buildings, and tertiary buildings or heat networks, to high-temperature heat pumps dedicated to industrial use.

A path to the future

The EU’s Green Deal Industrial Plan points to heat pumps as one of the key technologies for meeting climate-neutrality goals and for supporting industrial manufacturing in the Net Zero Industry Act. However, action is still needed to underpin the financing of heat pump development or related innovation and integrate them into buildings, industry and district heating/cooling networks. Financial support is also required for boosting the skills of workers, such as designers and installers, within the heat pump industry. The EU’s Heat Pump Action Plan to accelerate roll-out across the EU includes the Heat Pump Accelerator partnership, which will bring together the Commission, EU Member States, industry experts, financial institutions and training providers from across the entire heat pump value chain. In addition, EU businesses and citizens will receive targeted information on existing heat pump solutions, and future legislation will aim at phasing out stand-alone fossil fuel boilers by 2029. The mapping of financial opportunities for both heat pump deployment at the individual level and heating networks supplied by large heat pumps will contribute to heating and cooling strategies at local and regional levels.

Showcasing seven solutions

This CORDIS Results Pack focuses on seven projects funded under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation funding programme, demonstrating the EU’s firm commitment to expanding the heat pump sector. GEO4CIVHIC devised and modified existing technologies to accelerate the deployment of shallow geothermal heating and cooling in historic buildings located in built-up areas. HAPPENING created decentralised heat pumps that can be easily adapted to many different buildings. Meanwhile, HP4All brought together experts from across Europe to increase capacity and skills within the heat pump industry. HyCool developed a concentrated solar power collector system together with specially tailored hybrid heat pumps to supply heating and cooling for industry. REWARDHeat created a new generation of low-temperature district heating and cooling networks that recover low-grade renewable and waste heat available at low temperatures. SWS-HEATING worked on an innovative, cost-effective seasonal thermal energy storage system for storing heat. Finally, the TRI-HP project developed eco-friendly, affordable energy systems for apartment buildings by combining heat pumps, solar power and energy storage.