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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/T023074/1
Principal Investigator: James, Professor PAB
Other Investigators:
Bahaj, Professor AS Manfren, Dr M Gauthier, Dr S
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Isle of Wight Council NquiringMinds Ltd PassivSystems Limited
Portsmouth City Council Samsung Electronics UK Ltd Southampton City Council
Department: Sch of Engineering
Organisation: University of Southampton
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 October 2020 Ends: 30 September 2025 Value (£): 1,314,091
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Energy Efficiency Sustainable Energy Networks
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Construction Energy
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
13 Feb 2020 Decarbonising Heat Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The UK's carbon targets, as defined by the Climate Change Act of 2008, specify an emissions reduction of 80% by 2050, which the government has recently revised down to 'net zero' for the same year. In 2017, 17% of the UK's carbon emissions were associated with non-electric use in the residential sector (64.1 Mt CO2), the majority of which were associated with natural gas space heating, cooking and domestic hot water. The UK must therefore decarbonise residential heat to be able to meet its climate change targets, but, in combination with electric vehicles (EVs), this could lead to a 200-300% increase in the UK's annual electricity demand.

In terms of deployment at scale, Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP) operating either in isolation or as a hybrid gas system appear a key technology as they are not site specific and are applicable to both new build housing and retrofit. The UK's low voltage (LV) electricity network will not however, be able to operate with unconstrained electrical heating or EV charging loads. Both loads must be deferrable or scheduled in a manner to support the electricity network and maintain substations and feeders within limits.

Household electric heating has the potential to operate as a significant deferrable load which LATENT is seeking to understand and harness. This can provide benefits across scales, namely to the UK (energy security and carbon targets), DNO (Distributed Network Operator as grid support), heat pump suppliers (by demonstrating added grid value), householders (in terms of bill reduction and avoidance of peaking dynamic tariffs) and electricity suppliers by applying aggregation techniques to minimise energy service costs.

The key aim of LATENT therefore, is to be able to predict the impact of customers with electrical heating (predominantly ASHP) operating with 3rd party deferrable heating control on the LV network at the feeder / substation level. 3rd party control in this context would be through the energy service supplier, with whom, unlike the DNO, a household has an existing financial contract relationship. LATENT will inform industry of the potential of 3rd party control of deferrable heat through a rigorous field experiment, and, in doing so, accelerate the transition to decarbonised household heating.

LATENT will determine the influence of householder personality trait (OCEAN traits: either positive / negative as Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Neuroticism) alongside more traditional Census metrics such as educational attainment, house type etc to deliver a multi-variate regression model to describe deferrable heat reduction at the household level. A substation or feeder can then be analysed in terms of its household type mix (10% C+ detached, 30% E- flat etc) to produce a composite substation level, deferrable heat reduction estimate.

This model will be realised through field trials with LATENT's industrial partner, Igloo Energy. Igloo have a customer base with smart heating systems and ASHP which support remote 3rd party control. LATENT will test (i) householder's stated acceptance to deferral of heating (in terms of temperature drop and duration) through focus groups and surveys, (ii) actual acceptance of heat deferral through heating season field trials, and (iii) operation of a commercial deferrable heat tariff with a sample of Igloo's customer base.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Organisation Website: http://www.soton.ac.uk