Dutch technology startup Quatt wants to offer an AI-driven solution to the soaring gas prices in the Netherlands. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine and sanctions imposed by Europe on Russia, the gas prices in Europe have gone up by 60 per cent. In a situation like this, any alternative or cost-saving solution can go a long way. Quatt wants to go the furthest on this road with its solution, and the startup has raised €265,000 in order to do so.
Quatt aims to accelerate heat pump adoption in the Netherlands
As part of its Climate Agreement, the Netherlands has set an ambitious goal of implementing 1.3 million heat pumps by 2030. However, the country is expected to fall short by no less than 400,000. This is mainly because of the fact that switching from gas consumption to a sustainable heat pump, despite government subsidy, has meant significant investment and renovation for homeowners.
Quatt aims to accelerate the decrease of gas consumption with its smart hybrid heat pump. The startup argues that installing these hybrid heat pumps don’t require any additional changes to the home and the boiler stays active to produce domestic hot water and supports the pump when it can’t meet the heating demand.
The startup says approximately 7.5 million homes in the Netherlands, which don’t yet have a heat pump installed, can reduce their gas consumption by up to 80 per cent. Quatt says the “all-electric” heat pump is ideal only for new construction and is not suited for existing homes. It is, therefore, pitching the hybrid heat pump as a novel solution for millions of existing households that are yet to install a heat pump.
While the government is pushing the adoption of heat pumps, Quatt says hybrid heat pumps are the way to solve this problem. It says the total cost including the heat pump is equivalent to €16,000 including subsidies if the installation requires home renovation.
Bas Flipse says, “The hybrid heat pump isn’t new but has barely been improved in the last couple of years as the market and supply chain are blocking innovation. When no one is taking ownership of a substantial part of the supply chain and product development is happening far away from the end-user, innovation draws the shortest straw. In this scenario, traditional companies just keep doing what they always do: import, sell or install.”
An AI-powered smart hybrid heat pump designed for Dutch homes
After looking at current market conditions, Bas and his brother Marijn decided to further develop and innovate the concept of a hybrid heat pump. They decided to change the traditional supply chain by offering their solution directly to the consumer.
In order to get there, they first designed their new hybrid heat pump with Dutch homes in mind. In order to ensure efficient use and lower energy consumption, they designed a control technology that relies on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).
Compared to traditional hybrid heat pumps, Amsterdam-based Quatt says its advanced system leads to additional cost savings of up to approximately 20 per cent. The direct-to-consumer model allows Quatt to offer its smart hybrid heat pump with a 30 to 50 per cent lower selling price.
Marijn says, “When using a hybrid heat pump, a complex control problem arises. Every house is different in terms of volume, insulation, and heat transfer system. In addition, you’re dealing with two heat sources: the heat pump, and the boiler. Of course, it would be best if the heat pump is used as often as possible. However, its efficiency is not constant and decreases whenever the outside temperature does the same.”
“In addition, a heat pump works at relatively low temperatures. Therefore, at certain moments it is more profitable or even necessary to turn on the boiler. Finally, external factors such as fluctuating electricity tariffs and – of course – the weather, play a role in the process. Preferably, the heat pump should take all these aspects into account, for the most efficient use – in times of low energy tariffs for example,” he adds.
A small but quantitative funding
Quatt says since its website went live a month ago, it has seen more than 100 pre-orders for the hybrid heat pump. The startup says it expects to see them installed in the autumn of 2022. It has also raised €2,65,000 to reach an ambitious goal of installing its hybrid heat pump in one million Dutch homes within the next ten years.
The brothers, Bas and Marijn, are aware of the fact that consumers will eventually need to move away from gas consumption completely. As a result, they have designed their hybrid heat pump as an “all-electric” ready solution.
“The hardware and software are developed with a connection to a high-temperature heat pump in mind, which we will develop in a couple of years. Quatt enables Dutch homes to get rid of their gas consumption step by step, easily and affordably,” Marijn says.