Heat decarbonisation

The decarbonisation of heat is a major challenge facing the UK (and beyond) in its transition to a net zero carbon economy.

Ricardo has been providing world-leading expertise and knowledge on all aspects of heat decarbonisation, from policy development through to feasibility and implementation of low/no-carbon heating technologies.

Our key capabilities in heat decarbonisation

There are a number of options available to decarbonise heat, and at Ricardo we have developed a Heat Decarbonisation Hierarchy as a framework to outline the low carbon alternatives that we can help you to realise (see across)

As with the use of any resource, the focus should be first on reducing how much is used. In the case of heat, opportunities to improve the energy efficiency of buildings should be a priority, ensuring future low carbon heating is designed to match reduced loads. For industrial heat users, processes should be optimised and opportunities for waste heat recovery explored, with cost effective solutions being implemented first.  

Following on from this, the next step is to make the transition from fossil-fuel based heating to a low carbon alternative – such as biomass, solar, heat pumps, or connection to low carbon heat networks.  

For many industrial heat users, who require higher temperatures, heat pumps are less likely to be a feasible option, and therefore other opportunities such as fuel switching will need to be explored, for example the use of biofuels or hydrogen as alternative to fossil fuels.

Finally, for the most energy intensive and hard to abate sites which include high temperature processes within manufacturing, the opportunity to decarbonise lies in Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage, including Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS), which has the potential for negative emissions.

Ricardo Heat Decarbonisation Hierarchy (1)

Comprehensive heat decarbonisation support

Biomass Fuel


Supporting analysis, implementation and management of your biomass requirements.

Ricardo Heat Pump Support

Heat pumps

Strategic advice on the role of heat pumps as part of net-zero strategies.

Forest For Combined Heat And Power


Design, development and quality assessment of combined heat and power (CHP) technologies.

Carbon Capture And Storage


Leading expertise and knowledge on carbon, capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS).

Heat Networks

Heat and cooling networks

Advice across the entire project life cycle of heat networks (including district heating and communal heating), and cooling networks.

Industrial Heat Boiler Shutterstock 341516294

Industrial heat decarbonisation

Expert strategies and robust scientific insights to decarbonise your industrial process heat.

Heat decarbonisation


This service is offered within the following sectors.

Carbon removal technologies & policy | eBook series

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The role of solar energy in achieving carbon removals and net zero targets

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Pathways to Industrial Heat Decarbonisation

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Heat decarbonisation Resources

Pathways to Industrial Heat Decarbonisation

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Ricardo and Manufacture 2030 partner on supply chain decarbonisation solution

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Decarbonising sites with CHP

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Buoying up ambitions for decarbonisation: The future of the shipping sector

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Speak to our heat decarbonisation experts

If you are considering how you can decarbonise heat and need expert support. Contact us using the form below for an informal discussion on how we can help.