Renewable energy for process heat: electrify or switch to renewable fuels

Australian Alliance for Energy Productivity

Wednesday, 13 July, 2022

Renewable energy for process heat: electrify or switch to renewable fuels

Decarbonising industrial process heat is a major challenge for Australia and it accounts for more than 40% of fossil fuel use in the industry.

While a number of renewable energy options have been identified as suitable for decarbonising industrial process heat, they have historically been unable to compete on financial terms. This continued perception has contributed to the low take-up of such options, particularly industrial heat pumps, which are being used increasingly outside of Australia.

Although local awareness and capacity have remained low, recent years have witnessed an uplift in recognition of heat pumps and their ability to reduce emissions and improve energy productivity — an uplift that has been supported by a number of government support programs.

Highlighting this topic as part of his session at Energy Next, Jarrod Leak, CEO, Australian Alliance for Energy Productivity (A2EP), reflects on the lessons learned from more than 20 heat pump studies that have helped develop tools and build industry capability to correctly select and size a heat pump.

One report in particular, titled Renewable Energy for Process Heat - Opportunity Study Phase 2, is a comprehensive study into the acceleration and adoption of renewable energy in industrial and commercial process heating where Leak conducted 20 pre-feasibility studies and seven feasibility studies over two phases. These were across a wide range of food, beverage and industrial processes to consider the suitability of renewable energy options for these applications, with particular consideration of industrial heat pumps.

While outlining the misperceptions of heat pumps’ cost-competitiveness and the challenges that need to be considered when planning for a heat pump, the report concluded that there is a range of technical and economic viabilities offered by heat pumps for renewable heating across a plethora of manufacturing sectors.

To bridge the gap and pave the way for the future, there is a massive emphasis on creating and supporting networks that foster continuous improvement for the technology necessary to appropriately adopt heat pumps.

Leak will be speaking more in-depth about heat pump technology alongside a range of other topics associated with A2EP at Energy Next 2022, being held from 19–20 July at the ICC Sydney. Leak’s session is scheduled for Tuesday, 19 July at 10:25 am.

Jarrod Leak joined the Australian Alliance for Energy Productivity (A2EP) as Chief Executive Officer in 2020 after a long career with Swedish engineering company Alfa Laval, most recently as Managing Director and Cluster President for its Oceania and South East Asian operations. He has a great depth of experience across a range of industries, with significant expertise in implementing innovative technology-based sustainability and energy productivity solutions. With A2EP already having established energy productivity on the agenda for a number of governments and businesses, Leak is focused on taking energy productivity in Australia to the next level by building on A2EP’s reputation for innovative programs and engagement.

Image credit: © Sergeychik

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