Review: 3rd EHPA European Heat Pump Forum 2010

This year's 3rd EHPA Heat Pump Forum took place in Brussels on 20 May 2010. It was hosted by the EU representation of Baden-Württemberg. 

The program was split into four sessions and dealt with the most recent EU legislation relevant for heat pumps, the market developments in Member States as well as the latest developments in the field of heat pump technology. A special focus was put on hybrid systems.

Before commencing with the different sessions, the president of the EHPA, Mr. Karl Ochsner welcomed the participants and gave a short introduction to the application of large heat pumps as a promising application field for the technology. He explained in detail why heat pump technology presents the most important renewable technology for the heating sector, in particular in view of a future 100% renewable energy vision to be reached by 2050.

The introduction was followed by the first session on the market framework in the European Union and in Belgium. As a keynote speaker Mr. Hans van Steen, Head of Unit of DG Energy, presented an overview of the state of the art of the EU Energy Strategy and the role of renewable energy sources (RES). He explained the EU's 2020 policy, including the Directive on RES and the National Renewable Energy Actions Plans (NREAPs) as well as the Member States' targets and the progress made until today. The presented forecast showed a considerable contribution to these targets from heat pumps implying a necessary strong growth in unit sales and market potential.

The next presentation by Mr. Bart Bode from ODE focussed on the RES market in Belgium, explaining statistics, support measures and investment support for companies as well as an outlook on the development. Mr. Martin Forsén, the last speaker of this first session,  explained in detail the European heat pump statistics 2009. He ascertained the audience that the generally trend in the heat pump market all over Europe was positive, even though sales in 2009 suffered from the prevailing economic situation. He further stressed the prospect and importance of heat pump technology towards the realization of the vision of 100% RES by 2050.

The conferences second session presented selected examples on the impact of the implementation of European legislation in Member States. Ms. Lucie Tesnière, EREC, talked about the REPAP 2020 project (Renewable Energy Policy Action Paving the Way for 2020) explaining the tool of national renewable energy action plans (NREAPs), their content, and timetables as well as the support given to Member States by the project consortium.

Mr. Thomas Nowak, Secretary General of the EHPA presented a newly developed approach towards the calculation of RES contribution in EU energy statistics. Then Mr. Marc Frère from the University of Mons in Belgium talked about the NREAP for Belgium and stressed that the support given to heat pumps is still considered less important than the support for other RES technologies. The last speaker of this session was Mr. Michel Roffe-Vidal from Airwell Group. He managed to summarize the essence of the implementing measure on Lot 1 (boilers) of the Ecodesign Directive. In a well received presentation he outlined key points and open issues related to heat pumps in the attempt to compare different types of heat generators based on their primary energy performance. 

Lunch was served in the sunny garden of the Representation of the Land of Baden-Württemberg re-powering the conference participants for the afternoon sessions. Mr. Hans ten Berge, Secretary General of Eurelectric, provided insight into a possible future energy scenario. This vision relies on smart grids and heat pumps as key components in a low carbon future. He explained the advantage of this technology selection and made clear that future development - unlike today's reality - would require a level playing field for the different technologies measured by the amount of subsidies given per unit of renewable energy provided. 

Steen Kramer Jensen from the Danish national transmission system operator gave insights from a windy country that needs storage solutions to deal with excessive renewable electricity from wind. He explained that in Denmark heat pumps are considered a necessity to achieve a higher share of electricity from wind in the RES electricity mix. The third speaker of this futuristic session was Mr. Jörn Ruschenburg from the German Fraunhofer ISE. He presented a topic that is seen by many as a very promising future product: hybrid systems. As ISE is participating in the IEA annex 44 on solar thermal and heat pumps he used the results of this work to explain the potential of heat pumps integrating solar thermal and ambient energy, the technical design and the (expected) market potential of such combination.

The day was completed with a fourth and last session focussing on technical details of heat pump units and systems referencing to topics previously covered: Mr. Rainer Jakobs from the IZW presented industrial heat pump applications, their status and outlook. He stressed again the ease of application and which was largely neglected in exchange for a much stronger support and recognition of residential applications. Mr. Luigi Zamana (Emerson Climate Technologies) provided detailed insights into the state of the art of compressor technology optimized for heat pumps. He was followed by Mr. Tomas Dahlberg (SWEP), who introduced the participants to the companies newest developments in heat exchanger technology using CO2 as a refrigerant. The concluding presentation was given by Mr. Biagio Lamanna from Carel who talked about inverter and programmable controls in heat pump applications. He presented Carel solutions and compressor motor technologies.

All in all, this one-day conference presented a plethora of information to participants and provided a platform for many interesting discussions. Feedback from participants and speakers alike confirmed the success of the event as well as the importance of heat pump technology for the future.

The organizers where happy to see so many stakeholders taking the opportunity to participate in the conference. The EHPA would like to thank all those that supported the event and encourage all to continue and even to increase their efforts towards making heat pump an integral part of a vision towards a future for heating, cooling and hot water that is fueled by 100% renewable energy sources.