Apartments Photo by Brandon Griggs on Unsplash

Decarbonisation of heat

Our Decarbonisation of heat work is focused on what solutions are available and how could they be integrated to decarbonise UK heat.

Heating is one of the most difficult sectors to decarbonise in the UK’s energy system. Technical options have been identified, including electric heating, hydrogen (CCS or electrolytic), biomass and solar thermal, and demand reduction. However, much of the current thinking views the options as being in competition with each other. Less thought has been given to a whole energy systems approach.


To address this, we are:

Reviewing existing proposals for how heat can be decarbonised

We will undertake a multi-disciplinary systematic review, in partnership with stakeholders, of scenarios on Heat Decarbonisation. The aim is to provide peer-reviews of existing work, a common format for strategies and criteria for their evaluation, scenarios for future heat loads and sources. And engineering analyses of them in the UKTM model.

Analysing and further developing two existing whole energy system models

Improved representation of space and time in energy systems models is to reveal a richer landscape of options than current whole system optimisation modelling. We will review whole system energy models to identify factors relating to heat sub-systems that are not dealt with adequately. We will develop metrics for system flexibility and equity and fuel poverty, and strategies for integrating energy system architectures. We will to provide improved understanding of strengths and weaknesses of the main energy system models, proposals for extending them and tools to support development of economically efficient strategies for decarbonisation of heat.

Evaluating potential social, regulatory and governance implications of findings

We will provide input on potential social, regulatory and policy implications of the main socio-technical options for decarbonised heat. We will review the metrics and social implications of different proposals from previous work and evaluate the implications for market structures and policy.

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Light reflections, photo by Andrew Haimerl on Unsplash

Clean Growth Strategy

The UK published the ‘Clean Growth Strategy’ on 13th October 2017 outlining the broad objectives and aspirations to meet the nation’s climate goals. What is less well documented is a detailed plan of how this will be achieved. Our work is focusing on drawing together existing research to analyse the energy demand aspects of the strategy. We will assess where additional policy and measures are required and identify important research gaps that we need to fill.