The creators of the world’s first microwave boiler have said that it can provide a simple, zero-emission replacement for the gas boilers that heat most homes in the UK.
The boiler uses electricity to heat water that can then be pumped through existing radiators and to taps, showers, and bathrooms. The company, Heat Wayv, is building prototypes and expects to test the boilers in homes by the end of 2022, with the first sales to customers expected in 2024. He says a unit suitable for a three- or four-bedroom house would cost around £ 3,500, the same as equivalent gas boiler.
Heating produces 14% of UK carbon emissions, and it is one of the most difficult obstacles on the way to reaching net zero emissions by 2050. Gas boilers will be banned in newly built homes starting in 2025 and are expected to be completely removed by the mid-1990s. 2030.
The government is encouraging the installation of heat pumps, which are extremely efficient and cheap to operate, but have high upfront costs, can be detrimental to installation, and are not suitable for all properties. Hydrogen is also suggested as a replacement for gas, but most experts believe that supplying low-carbon hydrogen will be limited Y expensive and it would be best used for heavy industry and transportation.
The Heat Wayv unit is the same size as a gas boiler and has 10 meters of tubing wound inside, which is heated at multiple points along its length. Microwaves are produced by solid-state components, which can be specifically tuned to heat water and are better targeted than magnetrons used in microwave ovens.
The electricity load will be roughly the same as that of an electric oven, manufacturers say. They say the boiler is 84% efficient at converting electricity to hot water and another 12% of the waste heat is recycled, giving a total efficiency of 96%. The company’s first product, a portable microwave heater, is now in production for military customers.
“The end of the gas furnace is inevitable and is on schedule,” said Phil Stevens, co-founder of Heat Wayv. He said that heat pumps would have a place in the adequate housing market, but his product was “a clean technology where the boiler will cost the consumer the same to buy and install as a gas boiler.”
Paul Atherton, another co-founder, said: “The beauty of our microwave boiler is that it is completely compatible with existing household radiators.” He said the company would initially focus on the 170,000 new homes built each year, which will not be able to install gas furnaces starting in 2025. The company’s first product, a portable microwave heater, is now in production for military customers.
Experts contacted by The Guardian said the microwave boiler looked credible, although product details are confidential. The ability to replace a gas boiler is a significant benefit, they said, although they would consume more electricity and therefore cost more than heat pumps and gas boilers. One expert said that the cheapest purchase price clearly meant that there was a lifetime cost calculation to see how the costs are balanced.
The launch of electric vehicles already means that the national power grid must be beefed up to accommodate the additional load, and the widespread adoption of microwave boilers would add to that challenge, experts said. The microwave boiler cannot provide instant hot water like gas boilers can, so you have a hot water storage tank inside the unit.
Some experts said that homeowners may need to update their home’s main fuse and may need to have their local electrical grid approve the installation of a microwave boiler, as is required for larger heat pumps. Atherton said he had no idea, but that the company would work closely with all stakeholders.
TO US patent for a microwave powered boiler stayed in 1996, but this has expired, and in any case it was proposed to use a magnetron heater. “They are very much the harness of the microwave world,” Stevens said, unlike the more accurate solid-state microwave generators.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism