The efficiency of heat pumps gives them a great advantage over gas boiler systems

Australian Think Tank: replace gas boilers with heat pumps

Viking Heat Engines has contributed to a new report targeted at Australian industry. The report – Electrifying Industry - concludes it's possible to eliminate CO2 emissions from industrial processes by going electric. We spoke to author Michael Lord from Beyond Zero Emissions about the Think Tank’s findings and why he thinks heat pumps should replace gas boilers.

Why did you write this report?

Our mission as a charity is to show that Australia can eliminate greenhouse gas emissions very quickly. We cover emissions that tend to be neglected - such as those from industrial heat processes. Australia has plenty of land, sun and wind which means there is a huge potential to generate renewable electricity that could be used to power a zero-carbon industry. No one was talking about this opportunity.

"Industrial heat pumps give many manufacturers a new option to switch from gas to renewable electricity," says  Michael Lord, Head of Research at Beyond Zero Emissions

What do you hope the report will achieve?

We'll spend at least the next 6 months promoting the report. We want to show government and industry that Australia has a big opportunity to convert its potential to generate renewable energy into manufacturing success. We want State and Federal Governments in Australia to introduce policy to eliminate emissions from manufacturing - encouraging the use of electric heat pumps and the other technologies profiled in our report. We also want manufacturers to recognise that they have options beyond fossil fuels.

How did you hear about Viking Heat Engines?

I first saw Viking Heat Engines mentioned in one of the IEA heat pump reports. I was particularly interested in the company because of the high temperatures achievable. This makes the case for replacement of gas boilers more compelling.

What role can industrial heat pumps play in decarbonizing Australian industry?

For many Australian manufacturers the cost of natural gas has doubled or even trebled in the last couple of years. At the same time the cost of renewable energy has fallen dramatically. These developments give Australian manufacturers an incentive to consider switching from gas to renewable electricity. 

Industrial heat pumps are one technology that can enable this switch.

Most factories use centralised gas boiler systems, which are wasteful and inefficient. Modern heat pumps, which can produce water or steam up to 160°C, are an efficient, cost-saving alternative. 

What’s the biggest obstacles for manufacturers wanting to install heat pumps?

Lack of knowledge and understanding of heat pumps, and vested interest in the gas boiler industry. Even if a manufacturer is interested in installing a heat pump, who is going to supply it or design the system? There are limited options in Australia at the moment. 

Key takeaways from the report:

  • Heat pumps are a widely-used technology that produces 3-7 times more thermal energy than they use as electrical energy.
  • Heat pumps can save money for manufacturers currently using gas-fired heat processes, up to 160°C.
  • Heat pumps can play an important role in Australian manufacturing in industries such as food, chemical and paper.
  • They have the potential to replace 95 PJ of fossil fuel combustion, eliminating nearly 5 million tonnes of emissions.

For a copy of the full report, click here or visit Beyond Zero Emissions. If you want to learn more about the HeatBooster and how it can benefit your business, please contact

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