Renewables for industry
The ‘Renewable Energy Options for Industrial Process Heat’ report outlines opportunities for industrial users to switch to renewable energy alternatives to provide process heat.
The report shows that shifting to renewable energy to generate process heat is possible for industrial sites over the short, medium and long-term using numerous technologies and approaches. This includes bioenergy, geothermal, electrification, hydrogen and solar thermal, together with process redesign, combining heat and power and co-locating greenfield developments with renewable resources.
- Australian industry accounts for 44% of the nation’s end use energy and 52% of that is process heat, with an indicative value of $8 billion per year.
- At present, heat is predominantly provided by gas combustion with coal the second biggest source.
- There are more than 1,500 industrial sites using process heat, with the majority using less than 0.1PJ/year , however the bulk of the heat use is in a smaller number of large sites using more than 5PJ/year, such as alumina refineries and iron and steel production.
- There are renewable options for all current industrial uses of process heat.
- Renewable energy approaches to process heat using bioenergy, geothermal, renewable electricity, renewable hydrogen and solar thermal all have roles to play.
- Process re-design, combined heat and power, and location of greenfields developments to benefit from available renewable resources, offer potential for overall least cost solutions.
- Short term opportunities for renewable substitution of fossil fired heat that are already economic are estimated at 56PJ/year, equal to 12% of total industrial gas use for heat.
- The level of industrial experience with renewable heat remains low and barriers include a low appetite for risk and short payback time expectations by industry.
- Restructuring of ammonia and iron and steel production around the use of Renewable hydrogen could be central to achieving deep reductions in fossil fuel use in the long term.