Exploring High-Temperature Heat Pumps for Renewable Process Heat

The U.S. electric power industry has begun to make progress deploying renewable power to reduce its carbon footprint. A second bright area of decarbonization is that consumers of electric power, ranging from corporate goliaths like Google to single residences, have begun to contract for 100% renewable power. Companies can now go green by contract, if their energy use is electricity.

A harder nut to crack is how to provide process heat from zero-emission sources. Industrial plants, in many cases, use copious amounts of energy in the form of heat to drive processes. Just think of all the exhaust stacks at an oil refinery. Presume plant owners want to go green. How should they do it? Two factors make this problem more difficult than renewable electricity. First, the heavy hitters for renewable generation, i.e. hydropower, wind power, and solar PV power, do not make heat. Second, thermal energy is not transported cheaply.

This post takes a quick look at using a high-temperature heat pump to generate heat for an industrial process. The company would contract for renewable electric power and then use it to drive this heat pump. Continue reading “Exploring High-Temperature Heat Pumps for Renewable Process Heat”