Heat pumps are efficient, flexible technologies that are used in a broad range of settings. Every home in Australia has at least one in a refrigerator or air conditioner. The latest wave of heat pump application is in domestic hot water heating, proving heat pumps are mature and have multiple applications.
Heat pumps use electricity to pull heat from the air and thus generate more energy than they use; every unit of energy used will generate between three and six units of heating and cooling energy. In contrast, gas heaters generate less than one unit of energy for each unit of gas energy burnt, while traditional electric heaters can deliver at best one unit of heat per unit of electricity.
Efficiency makes heat pumps the obvious choice for heating and cooling our buildings, and increasingly for heating water in both domestic and industrial settings to replace gas boilers. Using less energy means cheaper energy bills without compromising on essential services.
Industrial heat pumps operate in the same way as household heat pumps, but are much larger and often with higher operating temperatures to cater for industrial needs. They are at least four times as efficient as fossil fuel equivalents. Industrial heat pumps are already in use in the food manufacturing sector, offering an alternative to gas use for Australia’s 4,000 food manufacturers.
Reasons to love heat pumps
- Extremely efficient and cost effective
- Multiple uses from heating hot water to air conditioning
- Pulls free energy from the air
The opportunity for heat pumps in Australia
Our five-year Deploy plan is ambitious and achievable. Over the next five years, in parallel with other clean technologies, we need to:
- Deploy 1,500 industrial heat pumps - 100 kW equivalent - to replace coal and gas boilers in industries such as food processing and paper/wood processing. Replacing end-of-life fossil fuel based assets with upgraded electrified alternatives is a simple initial step to take.
- Deploy 10.5 million domestic and 8,000 commercial heat pumps - including hot water, air conditioners and ducted air conditioners. Australia’s rollout of residential air-conditioning heat pumps is already faster than the pace needed in this plan. Installations of hot water heat pumps, however, need to ramp up significantly (37-fold).
Heat pumps offer an efficient, flexible technology suitable for a broad range of settings. Learn more about heat pump manufacturers playing their part in Australia’s transition towards a zero-emissions economy.
Award-winning Australian heat pumps
Reclaim Energy is an Australian-owned engineering company supplying heat pump hot water systems for Australian homes and businesses. Reclaim Energy’s hot water heat pump systems have been developed in collaboration with a Japanese manufacturer and include a patented controller system developed by Reclaim, and a unique tank operating design that allows for maximum efficiency.
At the time of writing, Reclaim Energy’s hot water heat pump is considered the most efficient in the Australian market, consuming almost 80% less energy than a standard electric hot water system. Based in Byron Bay, Reclaim Energy employ around 12 people, with products available Australia-wide. Reclaim Energy won the Future Energy - Industry Leader prize at the Victorian Premier’s Sustainability Awards in 2022.
The five-year Deploy plan
Heat pumps are one of six technologies - alongside batteries, solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles and electrolysers - Australian households, industry and transport can rollout to do the heavy lifting in reducing our emissions by 81% by 2030.
Our Deploy plan shows, in the next five years, we need to install clean technology at a rate of about two units or appliances per household. The good news is, we already know how to make these key technologies – we just need to make more of them and put them to work.
Mass deployment of emission reducing technologies like heat pumps can create jobs, reduce energy costs, revitalise manufacturing in our regions and urban centres, and help stimulate a green export industry triple the size of our current fossil fuel exports.