Heat Wayv, a UK energy technology company, has announced what it says is "the world’s first microwave boiler" as a zero-emissions replacement for gas boilers.

The new boilers heat water using the highly reliable microwave technology already found in over 93% of UK homes. Their use could reduce CO2 emissions from UK homes by up to 24%, the company says, as well as offering a safer and more reliable heating system dramatically cutting maintenance requirements. The new boilers also eliminate carbon monoxide and the associated risk of death from carbon monoxide poisoning. With a similar overall size, cost, and throughput to current gas boilers, the Heat Wayv microwave boiler will be a plumbing-compatible replacement for existing gas boilers and are planned for availability before the cut-off begins. 

“The end of the gas boiler is inevitable and scheduled,” explains Phil Stevens, co-founder of Heat Wayv. “But the proposed replacement technologies do not work for consumers as they are either too expensive to install or too expensive to run. We looked for a clean technology where the boiler would cost the consumer the same to buy, same to install and same to run as a gas boiler. The answer is the microwave boiler as it is a trusted technology in our homes already and one that can be brought to market before the 2025 gas boiler shut down begins.” 

Gas boilers will be phased out sequentially in the UK starting with a ban on installation in new homes from 2025, progressing to a ban on replacements in 2030 and a planned elimination of all gas boilers by 2038. The EU and other countries that have a substantial installed base of gas boilers are also in the process of their elimination. 

The Heat Wayv microwave boilers are already in engineering design, with reference products completed for small and large home applications. The company is working with leading semiconductor companies for some of its componentry and a leading contract manufacturer that should enable the new microwave boilers to be manufactured and available for installation before 2025. 

Initial target markets for microwave boilers will be newbuild homes and housing associations. A total of 170,000 new homes are currently being built with plans to expand this to 300,000 homes per year, and from 2025 these new homes will not be allowed to install gas boilers. The social housing sector in the UK, with its 1,500 housing associations managing some 2.5m households, is also keen to move away from gas boilers for environmental, safety and maintenance reasons. In the longer term, the UK market alone is worth over £3.5 billion per year and sees over 1.6 million boiler units installed. 

Microwave boiler alternatives would eliminate up to 54 million tons of CO2 emissions that are currently created annually by gas boilers in the UK, representing 14% of the total CO2 emissions in the UK and 29% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions that come from homes, the company says. The microwave boilers are also designed to be networked into an IoT (Internet of Things) configuration where they could collectively be used as a national battery at times of oversupply from renewable energy such as wind, where excess electrical energy could be stored as hot water for later use. 

“With the UK moving rapidly towards electrification to meet the demands for an expansion of electric vehicle charging and the need to decarbonise the home, we knew that we had to provide a solution that quickly and safely meets this agenda as well as delivering plug-and-play simplicity to enable ease of transition. The beauty of our microwave boiler platform is that it is completely compatible with existing home radiators, easy to install and maintain, but with zero emissions,” says Paul Atherton, co-founder of Heat Wayv. “As the UK and the world moves to renewable energy, we need to have appliances that are zero-emissions in the home, but also connected so that the devices can work intelligently with the grid.” 

Developed over four years by the Heat Wayv engineering team, the microwave boilers use an integrated electronics’ approach to create a highly efficient microwave heating system. This enables an energy efficiency of over 96% which means that consumers’ costs for heating water in the home will be the same or less than with current gas boilers. 

Heat Wayv is a new company created specifically to bring microwave boilers to market. Founded by Paul Atherton and Phil Stevens, the company has deep specialisation in microwave electronics and product design. Prior to Heat Wayv, the founders were responsible for the design and manufacturing of portable microwave appliances for military applications in the field.