DiscoverBetaTalk - The Renewable Energy and Low Carbon Heating Podcast
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

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Nathan Gambling known as BetaTeach hosts a podcast which discusses energy and the transition to low carbon technologies such as solar thermal and heat pumps. Nathan talks to engineers who work day in day out with these types of heating technologies. These renewable heating engineers not only champion energy efficiency to consumers but are the ones at the coal face discovering the challenges we face as we move towards net zero and decarbonising heat. The views expressed in these podcasts do not represent the views of any company.
43 Episodes
Ten Heat Pump Myths

Ten Heat Pump Myths


In this episode Nathan's guests myth bust heat pumps. He is joined by Bean from the Ground Source Heat Pump Association and Heat Pump Federation; Robin who is also from the GSHPA and Bill, a heat pump specialist. All 3 guests are engineers with a vast amount of knowledge with heat pump technology. Heat pumps are a recognised technology for helping the UK decarbonise heat and reach net zero. Unfortunately, there does seem to be some myths about what they can and can not do. Here are the myths around heatpumps we discussed:Inverter driven compressors are more efficient than fixed speed compressors. Bill starts us off with this one. As you will hear, inverters are efficient but again it comes down to design. Different heat pump designs and applications may benefit from fixed speed compressors. Heat Pumps are maintenance free and free energy. Kind of two myths rolled into one.Heat Pumps need to run all the time. Robin starts this one off by discussing an energy savings trust study and Bill finishes with a German study on ground loops.A high temperature heat pump can just replace a boiler. Again, you will hear, the guests discuss design. Low temperature heating is becoming more realised in the industry along with hydraulic design. Bean alludes to the new qualification the CIPHE are producing regarding this and also talks about some of the problems we find with underfloor heating (UFH) installation workHeat Pumps only work in new builds. Bean discusses how as an installer he was installing heat pump systems into grade 1 and 2 listed buildings. The topic of hybrid heat pump systems is brought up. All guests and Nathan considered the fact that boilers are not needed as back up. In district heating systems it may make sense but we can design heatpump systems to not need boilersHeat pumps only work with underfloor heating Robin discusses how some heat pump installations have been cancelled because of a notion UFH was needed for heat emitters. A problem especially in the non domestic sectorFitting a larger ground loop fixes most problems with ground source heat pumps Again we hear the importance of hydronic design and understanding pressure dropYou need a room thermostat in every room to comply with building regulations and for efficiency How do we control heat pumps and comfort. Listen to Nathan's guest talk about weather compensation and other forms of controlLow Loss Headers should be used on all heat pumps Hydronic separation, flow rates and delta t is par for the course in this chapterAll heat pumps are noisy Will heat pumps make frustrate our neighbours?
In this episode Nathan discusses with Evergreen Energy how consumers are able to get help with the upfront cost of renewable heating technology.Evergreen Energy are an OFGEM approved investor who are able to offer consumers the chance to assign the RHI (renewable heat incentive) payments over to them in order to have a heat pump system installed at a much cheaper rate than is often considered. Listen to Helen explain how Evergreen Energy was engendered by entrepreneur Stephen Critchlow.Simon explains a little about the assignment of rights and also how their initiative helps: Installers transition into renewables within a supportive frameworkConsumers adopt low carbon technology with less costDeploy more low carbon technologyYou can find more about Evergreen Energy here:
The first episode of season 3 discusses the green home energy grant with renewable heating engineers Leah and  Steve and also Kathryn from the University of LancasterFor more information around this grant from the government visit the SimpleEnergy Advice website.This episode highlights how hard it can be for consumers and find out why Steve and other engineers have opted not to take part in the scheme
Active buildings, energy storage, lithium ion batteries and strategic materials, it's all here. Listen to podcast friend Dr Gavin Harper a Faraday Institution Research Fellow School of Physics and Astronomy at Birmingham University chat with Dr Jen Baker from SPECIFIC at the University of Swansea about sustainability and second life batteries. Also joining Nathan is the MD for the ACEON Group, a battery manufacturer involved in developing the MCS standards for battery installation 
Heat Pumps are the topic on the second podcast recorded via Zoom on lockdown. However, this is the first episode to ever be uploaded to youtube which you can fine here chats to UK heating engineer Lee Fischer who is based in Lincoln, regular guest Richard Lowes and Jan Rosenow Principal and European Programme Directorat the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP)Dr. Rosenow serves on the Executive Committee of the International Energy Agency’s demand-side management program and sits on the board of the European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. He has also advised the International Energy Agency, the European Commission, the European Parliament, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ), government departments in a number of countries, and the UK’s Office of Gas and Electricity Markets, as well as serving as an expert witness on several occasions to the British Parliament. He was the lead author of the International Energy Agency’s global assessment of market-based instruments for energy efficiency.
Can Low Loss Headers and Buffer tanks be installed onto heat pump systems and other renewable heating topics are discussed in this episode but also land regeneration and how soil locks in carbon. Nathan speaks with regular guest host Brandon who is currently on lockdown in New Zealand with his family.Some topics discussed:Comparison of New Zealand and UK building regulationsSolar Heat not being discussed enoughZoning vs WCHome made WhiskeyRegenerative Agriculture
Low temp heating design along with heat pumps is todays discussion at the HQ of Grant who are well known in the industry. Grant is essentially an off-grid company known in the heating sector for their oil boilers, heat pumps and Nathan’s favourite: Solar Heat or also known as Solar Thermal.Nathan gets to chat with Grant’s training manager Phil, and two of his favourite engineers Paul and Steve.You will hear the following topics:Low Temp system design and weather compensationGrant’s historyTransition of oil installers to low carbon technologiesHeating system monitoringThe importance of commissioning.We will also hear Paul’s story of how he convinced a developer to use heat pumps on their property rather than gas boilers and also how he uses analogy to help explain such systems to customers.We hear Grant explain the importance of heat loss design and radiator sizing and Steve’s conversation about architects highlights whether there needs to be more consideration at the house planning stage for such an important aspect of the home.Enjoy and please leave a review to help others find these podcasts. Thank you
Ground source heat pumps is still the topic at Kensa. Lots of topics to listen to including:Kensa explain how they are part of the commissioning process Bill explains the importance of installers and customers understanding controls We discuss how heat pump systems run very differently to conventional systems and training currently has not been greatDp manufacturers drive the market?
Kensa Ground Source Heat Pumps are the topic of this weeks betatalk  podcast.Nathan took along some of his usual guest engineers to Kensa's HQ to have a chat about heat pumps, training and their "shoebox" design for district and community heating systems.Topics discussed are:Geology of the UK Drilling bore holes for heat pumpsCalculating the ground array for ground source heat pumpsShoebox vs heat interface unitsCan the grid cope with heat pumpsNuclear is bad for the environmentIt's a good episode...enjoy
Meet Emma, Sue, Alan, Lee and Andrew members of a team based in Sheffield and Perth Scotland who specialise in heat pump installations. With over a 100 years of combined experience Nathan enjoyed his visit to chat with the team.Nathan and Emma chat regularly on Social Media and her passion about standards and design within this sector really shows through. Listen till the end where you'll hr Emma make some fantastic points.Alan installed his first heat pump back in 1996 and he talks about design of the system and how it is vital for efficiency and performance. A theme which betatalk inculcates. Hear Sue and her fascinating insight into the development and evolvement of MCS.Other topics discussed are MVHR and PAS 2035Its a great episode...enjoy
Carbon capture storage, gas networks, Future Homes Standard it's all discussed in part 2 of Ken Bone and Nathan's trip to Cornwall to meet with Richard Lowes. In this episode we are also joined by Sovay Berriman who discusses her transition into the heating world from art and higher education.At the beginning of the episode you will hear Richard talk about the ways engineers can help shape policy. It's not easy but he gives examples. He also mentions a study which was carried out by Faye Wade at Edinburgh university which sounds extremely interesting.Richard is part of the energy policy group at Exeter and he has become a valuable part of the heating community. Both Nathan and Sovay have PGCE qualifications and they discuss the lack of evidenced based learning within the heating training sectorTake a listen and enjoy
Energy and sustainable policy is the topic of this episode. Nathan travels to meet with Richard Lowes, a wonderful gentleman well known in area of heat policy within the UK. Richard has worked on policy regarding the future of the gas grid and started a PhD in 2014 which looked at the development of policy within the heating industry: how it started and how different interests lobby. A main question being asked by academics is: " do industries in the market help drive change or hinder it?"Not only was it interesting to discuss Policy with Richard we also Ken Bone and I also discussed his new heat pump install, which is a NIBE air source installed under the Nu - Heat umbrella MCS scheme. Richard is Cleary happy with it but discusses with us how he felt "to many cooks can spoil the broth" You can listen to discover what he means.You can also hear Ken discuss weather compensation curves and low temperature heating. There's also discussion about the risks manufactures pose to industry.
Bristol heating engineers Ben, Simon and Craig chat with Nathan about renewables and the gas heating industry. They discuss the importance of heating system design and how it is vital to obtain efficiency.In this episode you will hear about the types of renewable heating these engineers have worked with and how social housing would benefit from renewables and boilers set up efficiently.This seasons podcast is sponsored by
Once again Nathan speaks to Brandon and Richard for this podcast on heatpumps. This time we have Brandon's nephew with us who is an apprentice. So a little training theme within this episode. Accountability is a main theme e.g. what happens if heat pumps are installed incorrectly. Other topics include:Data EfficiencyIoT and its use within the heating industryCompetenceHeat Pump System DesignPlease enjoy and if you have any questions about heat pumps or want to reach out to any of the engineers Nathan uses in these episodes you can contact him at to season 2 sponsors: MCSYou can visit their website here:
Solar Thermal (Solarheat) heating is very misunderstood. It is not only clean it is free and maybe this is why it's not in many of the discourses around decarbonisation. While there are many concerned individuals and organisations engendering discussions around decarbonisation a lot of the time they are misinformed. Take a listen to engineers who work at the coal face of renewable heating technology, it is they who install, maintain and know these systems so well. They don't have an agenda, e.g. they are not trying to sell energy they are trying to solve the problems we face and create efficiency.This episode has the following topics:Solar thermal systems which work in winterBuffers, accumulators and thermal storesLow temperature heating systemsHow to reduce energy billsEvacuated solar thermal tubesAre European countries beating the UK regarding this renewable technology?Should housing developers look at renewable energy more closely? You will hear how Brandon knows someone who produces so much solarheat  they sell it to the next door neighbour - as the heat moves through the wallThanks for listeningThis season is sponsored by MCS
Renewable heat is a hot topic, pardon the pun, and to kick start a new season of BetaTalk Nathan visits expert engineers Brandon from Ken from and Richard from this episode Nathan introduces MCS who will sponsor this season's episodes. They will all have a renewable heat theme and in this first episode Nathan discusses with his guests different types of renewable technology.Ken and Brandon have been on the show before and they and Nathan get to meet controls expert Richard who is a wonderful gentleman based in Mid Wales. Topics include: Smart Controls and Weather CompensationHeat CalculationsThe future of heat pumpsOpen ThermCost of heat pumpsBiomassSolar ThermalBatteries  Disclaimer: This episode is a conversation between engineers who have fun as well as discuss serious topics. No language or figurative speech is to be taken literally 
Heating system design is back in vogue (it never should have gone out of fashion as it's extremely vital). Here, Nathan travels to Northampton to visit Kim where he trains heating engineers in system design.It should always be noted that the heat source whether it's a boiler or heat pump requires an efficient heating system otherwise there is no real efficiency. IMI Hydronic Engineering, and The Heating Academy understand how important heating system design is and are doing there best along with BetaTeach to get that message out. In this episode you'll hear Kim explain how his time in the army training people to operate a new complex weapons system was perhaps when he first realised the rewarding aspects of teaching people.Topics covered are:Low Loss Headers (LLH)Close Couple Tees (CCT)Heating System Design
IMI Hydronic training was taking place at the Guilford gas centre being set up by Tony Rees. It gave me the opportunity to speak with some of the plumbing and heating apprentices and diploma students who attend the college there. This is a 3 parter as I was able to talk to ten students in total. Here are the first three.Fantastic episode this. Learn what our next generation get up to.
IMI Hydronic training attracts some great engineers. Listen to Nathan chat with Al, Kevin and Jo from The Heating Hub.Topics discussed:How IMI are bringing science back into heat engineeringBoiler companies will have to adapt quicklyDo sites like BOXT add value to the industryWhat is The Heating HubOversizing PipeworkWill smaller boiler companies take the lead
Gas Safety Week raises awareness within the heating industry and Nathan has been joined by Paul Hull from the Gas Safety Super Heroes and Rob Howard from Gas Safe to discuss the various topics surrounding gas safety.Topics Discussed What happens on your first gas safe inspectionPersonal CO alarmsTraining issues, problems and ACSCould manufactures play a larger role in gas safetyRegardthecard
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