Mid-tier supplier Ovo and heat battery producer Sunamp have been awarded £1.6 million of grant funding from the government’s low-carbon heating technology fund.

The money will go towards a collaborative zero carbon home project led by Ovo and will combine Ovo’s smart energy management platform VCharge with Sunamp’s UniQ heat batteries.

VCharge aggregates stored energy, creating a virtual power plant energy load that could provide grid services.

Ovo claims that by combining both technologies, domestic customers will be able to heat their homes with electricity using cheap renewable energy at off peak times, and store it to release heat on demand whenever it is needed.

The project will develop and test the feasibility of bringing smart electric central heating to the mass market and demonstrate that, combined with renewable energy, these technologies provide a practical and low-cost solution to creating zero carbon homes.

Toby Ferenczi, director of strategy at Ovo, said: “Replacing a gas-boiler with a smart electric system is the most practical and low cost way to decarbonise heating.

“By combining VCharge and Sunamp’s UniQ heat batteries, power can be drawn down according to the needs of the grid, resulting in running costs comparable to gas heating systems but without carbon emissions.

“A recent study by Imperial College and OVO showed that smart, flexible residential technologies such as this could save the UK up to £6.9 billion per year.

“We are excited to work with Sunamp to develop this game-changing smart electric heat solution.”

Andrew Bissell, chief executive of Sunamp, added: “It’s a fact that 81 per cent of energy used in UK homes is for heating and we are delighted to team up with the UK’s leading independent energy supplier and bring our UniQ heat batteries together with Ovo’s time of use technology – to help consumers take advantage of the cheapest electricity prices available for their heating.

“We aim to develop an accessible heating solution to deliver heating and hot water on demand and improve levels of comfort and lower fuel costs, energy consumption and carbon emissions in homes everywhere.”

Energy and clean growth minister Claire Perry, said: “By replacing fossil fuels with smart heating systems we have the potential to cut carbon emissions and save consumers money on their heating bills.

“This £1.6 million grant to develop a commercially viable smart electric central heating system is part of our commitment to fund the cutting-edge industries of the future through our modern industrial strategy.”

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