‘B-Snug’: Shell and PassivSystems launch smart home heating system

System designed to manage and monitor use of air source heat pumps in combination with householders’ existing boiler aims to slash emissions

Oil giant Shell and UK tech firm PassivSystems have teamed up to launch a new smart hybrid home heating system, which is designed to slash greenhouse gas emissions by limiting the use of traditional boilers by prioritising the use of electric heat pumps.

Dubbed ‘B-Snug’, the system uses advanced technology to manage a traditional household gas boiler in combination with an air source heat pump, continuously monitoring temperature in the home as well as local weather forecasts to automatically switch between the two as required, the firms said yesterday.

The system’s controls uses machine learning to select the most appropriate heat source to deliver warmth and comfort in the home “favouring use of the heat pump wherever possible” in order to cut down on emissions and energy bills, they said.

In order to achieve the UK’s recently adopted 2050 net zero emissions target, the Committee on Climate Change has made clear that a major rollout of green heating systems, such as electric-powered heat pumps, will be required across UK homes as a replacement for traditional natural gas boilers will be necessary. However, deployment to date has struggled to scale in the face of relatively high costs and technical challenges.

By providing householders with a means of using electricity to heat their homes without stripping out boilers altogether, Shell and PassivSystems said the B-Snug system would help consumers to reduce their use of gas or oil to heat their homes, which could help cut the UK’s carbon footprint in the short term.

The B-Snug is particularly suited to larger and harder to insulate homes which use oil or LPG for heating, and where fitting all-electric heat pumps in isolation may be particularly complex and costly, explained PassivSystems’ CEO Colin Calder.

“The B-Snug smart hybrid heating system offers an affordable, cost effective and easy-to-install option, moving households towards a more sustainable, low-carbon energy source without having to make any changes to their existing heating system,” he explained. “PassivSystems is delighted to be a key supplier and technology provider in this new product launch, which directly contributes to meeting the CCC’s goal of deploying 10 million hybrids by 2035.”

PassivSystems plans to offer the B-Snug as part of its package of advanced smart control devices which use its digital technology management platform.

Brian Davis, vice president of energy solutions at Shell, said leveraging PassivSystems’ technology and experience would allow the oil and energy giant “offer a more cost effective and cleaner heating solution to our customers”.

“In PassivSystems, we found a great partner to launch B-Snug – our first smart hybrid heating system,” he added.

The launch is the latest in a series of smart and clean tech moves from oil and gas giant Shell following its acquisition of First Utilityand expansion into electric vehicle charging, energy storage, and smart grid demand response systems.