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BetaTalk - The Renewable Energy and Low Carbon Heating Podcast
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BetaTalk - The Renewable Energy and Low Carbon Heating Podcast

Author: Nathan Gambling BetaTeach

Subscribed: 116Played: 4,200


BetaTalk is the recent winner of the British Renewable Energy Awards 2020 communication category “which recognises an organisation who has done most to enhance awareness or championed positive change for renewables or clean technology with key opinion formers: parliament, government or the public”Nathan Gambling known as BetaTeach on Twitter discusses energy and the transition to low carbon technologies such as solar thermal and heat pumps with some of the best renewable engineers. He is uniquely known in the industry for spotting the exceptionally high talented heating engineers who are out at the coal face doing their bit to decarbonise our homes and buildings.
112 Episodes
This was a recorded live show at Installer 2023 and featured Ian Rippin from MCS along with Ken Bone and Leah Robinson from Your Energy Your Way.Ian discusses the consultation and the new changes coming.Support the show
Econic is a new venture from Nathan's friend Christophe Grossbaier. Its aim is to make the transition from gas boilers to heat pumps smoother for both customers and installers and uses a hybrid heat pump business model to achieve this. With an engineering background and Masters from Cambridge University, Christophe appreciates heat pumps can heat almost any building but understands customers still have their concerns and worries. This business model is designed to take away the anxiety a customer may have and at the same time offer them a cheaper alternative - both in upfront and running costs.Econic will be working with local community groups as well as Local Authorities. To find out more contact the team here  Support the show
Nathan dives into the history of heating systems and looks at why chemical inhibitors were introduced to prevent corrosion.He also points out that manufactures are possibly misinterpreting the building regulations e.g. they are getting confused with a requirement within the building regs  and the guidance contained in an approved document.It also takes a look at the Benchmark system and questions if it is fit for purpose. Is it biased towards maintaining growth of the chemical inhibitor companies?The episode also looks at how a 1960s home could be heated from single panel radiators with just a flow of approx. 53°C... Support the show
In this episode Nathan interviews Faye Wade, his favourite academic researching the heating industry. This is because Faye understands that the most vital component of the industry is the engineer and that we need to really listen to them.Joining Faye are Nathan's friends Leah, Sovay and Rhiannon who are all involved in installing and maintaining heating systems.This is a fab episode with lot's of discussion around the transition to heat pumps and things like certification bodies, awarding bodies and MCS etc etcSupport the show
In this conversation Nathan chats with Jonny Hancock, product manager at NIBE about some of the products and solutions they have on offer including their new exhaust air heat pump being launched at the InstallerShow 2023You can find the links discussed on the show belowNIBE Training University of West London PVT case studySupport the show
*Update: in this episode Damon and host Nathan realised after editing there was a mistake. An easy one to make as engineers like Damon have so many numbers running around in their head. He mentions he sizes radiators to 50°C when in fact Damon is one of the engineers who designs to a lower flow temp of 40-45*C for a radiator heating circuit.In this episode we speak to the fabulous engineers Damon from Blakemore Plumbing and Heating and Barry from Renewable Heat about quotations. It's a hot topic so sit back and enjoy.We also discuss the Glowmarkt website being developed by consortium partners within the Heat Pump Ready programme which Nathan, the host of the show, is part of. Support the show
I really enjoyed this episode chatting with Andrew Middleton, Managing Director at British Gas Zero and Steve Petrie, regional manager at British Gas Zero who also is a former British Gas engineer. I brought along for the ride my friend Adam Gilhespy from Carno to help me host the conversation as he also is a former British Gas engineer and like Andrew  understands strategy and processes. For anyone who knows my podcast I started it so on the ground engineers could have a more amplified voice. Unfortunately, in the energy discourses I'm privileged to be a part of these days the coal face engineers are not always being listened too.It is why it was refreshing when Andrew reached out and asked if he could come chat with us on the podcast. Andrew is one of my listeners and openly admits he has found it extremely useful to listen and learn from the engineers I have had on the show. Enjoy the showSupport the show
Recycled refrigerant and Energy Performance Declarations are discussed in this episode alongside the wider discussion around whole life carbon and the UK Net Zero Carbon Buildings Standard.Nathan's guests are:Ryan Philp, the Business Development Manager at Daikin Ellie Burkill, Energy Sustainability Consultant at XCO2Sara Godinho, Associate at XCO2To hear what Daikin are doing with recycled refrigerant skip to 1 hour 2 mins... a link is provided in the chapters tabSupport the show
The BetaTalk podcast speaks to friends at Kensa about their approach to using heat pump technology for domestic heating.Nathan and Wouter Thijssen, MD at Kensa Contracts, explain 5th generation heat networks (known as ambient loop) and how they are different to other types of district heating.For more info about the  check out the links belowITV NEWS Financial TimesBBCSupport the show
The EPC debate

The EPC debate


Fantastic guests and a fantastic episode which digs deep into the Energy Performance Certificate. Nathan is joined by Madhuban Kumar, CEO of Carbon Laces; Stuart Fairlie, MD of Elmhurst Energy and Marcus Shepheard from the Climate Change Committee  Support the show
Lots of frustration among gas engineers. Do we value the work they have been doing for so long? They are an incredibly important sector of the heating community as we will be relying on them for the transition.Support the show
This is the 100th episode so a big thank you to all the listeners and all those who have taken part.BIG THANK YOU TO MyEnergi who are this season's sponsorIt features European policy expert Louise Sunderland from the RAPUK policy and innovation expert Guy Newy from Energy Systems Catapult (past sponsor of the podcast)AND expert heating engineer  Welsy Hort from West Hampstead Plumbing and Heating. Wesly is one of the renowned BetaTalk #heatarchitects - leading heating engineers who are helping other heating engineers learn.This episode is fantastic and discusses the recent heat pump installs Wesley did for both Guy and Louise. Both Guy and Nathan have a passion for post install monitoring and Nathan is involved in a BEIS funded Heat Pump Ready project which has a focus on monitoring.  Support the show
Mark from the architectural practice LEAP discusses with Nathan airtightness, ventilation, thermal comfort and passivhaus.Questions arise such as should more loft insulation be put in and how windows ideally should be fitted.A few papers are mentioned and the links can be found here:Passivhaus Secrets (Free Documentary Case Studies)Passivhaus TrainingThermal Bypass RisksSupport the show
Measuring Heat pump system design with Brendon from HeacolLink to slides for the test can be found hereTHE TEST RIGBrendon discusses how he first designed the test rig with Ulster University  for testing the heat pump he had built which is specifically adapted for UK climate, the UK's building stock and how the homes in the UK are commonly heated e.g. a combi boiler.When RHI was first introduced, it required heat pumps to have costly certification and sadly Brendon's heat pump had to be put on the back burner... after all, Brendon is extremely busy installing heat pumps for people and has been putting heat pumps in for many years. (Note, if you are an investor in innovation you'd do well to contact Brendon to discuss this heat pump)The test rig uses a 500L thermal store to simulate the internal of a property "it's got inertia, it's got thermal capacity and it's got buffer " A plate heat exchanger connecting the thermal store to the heat pump simulates a radiator system which can have temps and flow rates changed. Brendon describes how this set up is able to run different testing than the excellent Energy House at Salford University and benefit from quick responses to different heating stratagies and scenarios.  TESTING SYSTEM DESIGN testing a heat pump system with 3rd party controls and buffer tanktesting a heat pump system with weather compensation and buffer tanktesting a heat pump system with weather compensation and no buffer tank e.g. open zone or what has been called direct in the test which can be found hereThe test simulated a house with an 11.5kW heat load.With the first test the heat pump had to run at 50 degree Celsius flow to maintain an internal temp of 21 degrees.In the second test the flow temp dropped to 45d.The final test, with open zone system, no buffer and controlled with manufactures wether compensation controls only required a flow temp coming from the heat pump of 35 degrees CSupport the show
We chat to Szymon from Urban Plumbers who is now installing heat pumps to get a glimpse into that journey. Szymon has a great YouTube channel which you can find hereSupport the show
Nathan chats with Tarik Bellahcene from the European Heat Pump Association about KeymarkSupport the show
World Ventilate Day

World Ventilate Day


We spoke with Graeme Fox from BESA about the first world ventilate day. You can watch live also their webinar which will also be recorded12:00pm GMT - Tuesday 8 November 2022Join our panel of experts as they discuss how good ventilation can improve health and wellbeing as well as protect buildings. We will share top ventilation tips and practical solutions to implement your home, school or workplace. They answer the key questions such as: What is ventilation? What is the right solution for my building? How does it improve sleep/health/productivity? How do I know if I have a ventilation problem? Can ventilation really reduce the spread of flu, colds, and other diseases? Energy costs mean I don't want to open my windows in winter – what options do I have? BESA are supporting the global awareness campaign to promote the critical role building ventilation plays in improving health, well-being, sleep and productivity alongside scientists, academics, engineering bodies and environmental activists. As well as showcasing the range of ventilation solutions available to building owners and occupiers, #WorldVentil8Day will recognise the skilled people who implement the measures and strategies used to make buildings healthier and safer – highlighting the need for training and recruiting more skilled people to take on this growing global task.  You can find the link to the webinar here Support the show
We chat to Phil Jones from Alpha about boilers and their need to be working better with proper control. We also mention the hybrid offering from Alpha where for aprox. £3100 a home owner can have a new boiler which is connected to a 4kW fan coil unit outside.Enjoy the  episode and thanks for listening Support the show
Heat Pumps in Scotland

Heat Pumps in Scotland


Fantastic episode with Barry who runs Renewable Heat up in Scotland. We discuss his heat pump journey as well as his work with the plumbing and heating association Snipef.We discuss lots such as MCS, the NIBE PVT system, sizing heat pumps and the new service which provides which measures rather than calculates heat loss.We also mention how some of the old solid wall buildings are some of Barry's best performing systems.Defrost cycles are discussed and how a heat pump can become more efficient the colder it gets outside due to lack of moisture in the air.Support the show
Nathan chats to the MD of EOGB about a UK first - a domestic modulating oil boiler.The boiler uses open therm to modulate the flame and will output different flow temps to the radiators or other heating emitters. Nathan starts the episode with a little pre-amble about the importance of flow temps constantly changing to match the demand of the property. Enjoy!Support the show
Comments (8)

Merte Peeters

again great episode.... explained every except... what a Inhibitor actually is? does it lower temp somehow? i cant relate to that here in NL? i'll look it up also.. thx!!

Aug 17th

Mike Lagan

Nathan, I've enjoyed listening to your podcasts for a long time now but find you are drifting more and more into high level discussions which are frankly quite boring. For me and I imagine many listeners want to hear about the latest and popular products in the current UK heat pump market and feedback from home users and details about the systems installed. For example hearing about how home users have retrofitted heat pumps, costs and products used. For now I am unsubscribing from your podcast as I can't endure another boring episode Mike

Jul 10th

Chris Knowles

I am a consumer looking for the best way to stop using fossil fuels in my home. I have done a lot in terms of insulation and looking at how best to get rid of my gas boiler, hence I dip into this podcast. I'm afraid every time I listen it just convinces me more this is not for me. And this particular edition sounds like a complete waste of public money promoting what is only ever going to be a small niche. Sorry!

Jun 28th

Chris Knowles

You should listen to the majority of your customers, heat pumps simply won't work in the homes we live in.

Jun 12th

Mike Lagan

Nathan, Great episode with Richard. Enjoyed all the info on modulating gas boiler heating with examples of from manufacturers, e.g. Alpha and Intergas. Please bring him back again to do one on domestic air sourced heat pumps with similar examples and manufacturer recommendations and things to look out for, e.g. best side of house to place heat pump, noise issues with neighbours, retrofit to micro bore systems, etc Mike

Sep 4th

Chris Knowles

I'm a homeowner who is very sceptical about having a heat pump and this podcast is only reinforcing that. I could afford it but the amount of change and the lack of experienced competent engineers puts it way down my list. Renewable energy and an electric combi boiler sounds much better.

Feb 1st

Chris Knowles

Thank you for this, you've done a great job in convincing me that the last thing I will consider is a heat pump. Too complex, have to change radiators and find space for a hot water cylinder again. An electric combi boiler combined with vehicle to grid / home technology and off peak tariffs will do it for me, my insulation is good and none of the other high costs and complexity.

Oct 22nd

Denny Luyis

A very useful podcast! I think people need to know more about renewable energy because it is our future. U.S. consumption of renewables is expected to grow over the next 30 years at an average annual rate of 1.8 percent, higher than the overall growth rate in energy consumption (0.2 percent per year) under a business-as-usual scenario. These are very good predictions, and I hope they will come true. But I'm wondering if more software will be created to simplify the workflow. For example, I heard that this software is now widely used - . But will only it be enough, or will it be necessary to come up with something else?

Apr 21st
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