A European Commission report gives numbers for the stock of conventional heating appliances in the EU that need to be replaced to have a decarbonised heating system. From this source, we can conclude that 143 million appliances need to be replaced. These include gas, oil or coal boilers as well as 25 million direct electrical heating systems.
From a Creara report commissioned by European Copper Institute in Feb 2017 (not published), we share the following table showing copper use in heating appliances.
The market will decide between various decarbonised heating solutions, and ECI takes no view which low-carbon solution should be preferred. Hence, the average copper use shared over the seven low-carbon solutions (two heat pump technologies, biomass boilers, pellet stoves, solar heating, district heating and domestic CHP) is 17 kg per appliance. This is 11 additional kilograms over the copper used in a conventional heating system of 6 kg.
To upgrade Europe’s 143 million conventional heating systems requires therefore 1.6 million tons of copper until 2050. This figure is likely to be an overestimate since alternative heat conductor materials can be used as well. In addition, buildings in Europe are getting more efficient and have lower heat demands.
Therefore, in an alternative scenario that anticipates societal trends rather than extrapolates business-as-usual, a much lower copper demand can for heating appliances be expected.