air heat pump on building

Report | 2024

Zero-Carbon Home Heating in China’s Yangtze River Delta Region: Heat Pumps as a Core Solution

By Yihan HaoXinxin HuGuangxu WangMeng Wang
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In China, residents of the northern regions have district heating service provided by the government, but residents of southern China still have a significant lack of heating facilities. The Yangtze River Delta (YRD) region is a triangle-shaped metropolitan area with climate characteristics typical of southern China. As one of the most densely populated and economically advanced city clusters in China, the YRD region has the greatest potential to explore the zero-carbon heating pathway and become a role model for other regions in southern China.

According to our analysis, more than 20 million residents (about the population of New York), currently without home heating systems, will be equipped with new heating facilities. By 2030, there will be an increase of more than 500 million gigajoules of heating demand in the YRD region, equivalent to 40 percent of 2020’s total heating demand.

In this report, we identified the challenges of home heating in the YRD region and compared the typical heating solutions from three dimensions. Heat pumps can serve as an energy efficient and low-emissions solution for zero-carbon home heating in the YRD region. We also identified the barriers and provided recommendations for scaling heat pumps.