Remove gas (and coal) from heat

I think most of us think of two things when it comes to global energy consumption. The first are generators, fossil fuels, or zero emissions and solar, or nuclear. The second is transportation from small private scooters to container vessels with engines that can light up a small town. These two sectors account for more than half of all energy consumption, and transportation alone accounts for one-third.

It is big, but there is another sector, but the rapidly evolving transport sector, with its low temperature, requires little public attention or research. Global industrial production is 29% of the energy consumed by end-users such as housing, industry and agriculture. Although I examine this information (always), I am still amazed at it: almost one-third of the human resources go to heating things on an industrial scale.


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Heat generation is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, mostly in areas known as “difficult to deplete” for technical and economic reasons. This is important and growing as I explore in a new white paper for Bloemberg NF and the World Trade Council for Sustainable Development.

Industrial heating brings to mind the processes of metalworking, copper smelting, or cement production. They are, of course, a major component of industrial heat demand, and today meeting demand is the work of hydrocarbon fuels, especially coal and gas. These processes are not only hot, but often require constant production and a close connection between the product source and the utility station.

Steel work and petrochemical transfer and similar deep processes are a major part of industrial heat demand, but there is a very long tail to the use of other industrial heat. Food Services require steam to melt vegetables, dry heat for baking, and boiling water, to boil well. Paper and packaging require heat to dry the finished product. Making furniture requires steam to bend and carve wood. The clothing industry needs heat for textiles and dyes. The list is long.

Although important, these processes often separate the heat source from its use – that is, heat is generated in one place and sent to another location for use. This means that the technologies used to generate that technology can be easily converted into processes with multiple applications with multiple applications. The same technology can provide heat for different uses depending on the site or market, and similarly, different technologies can provide heat for the same applications in the site or market.

Essentially, fuel other than coal, gas, and oil can meet the demand for that low temperature. It can be connected to the solar heating system by using the pulp and paper industry, or by biogas, or by focusing on the sun to produce water. It can be supplied with geothermal energy, or even an industrial heat pump. There are many technologies to meet demand, below the maximum temperature required for heavy industrial applications.

However, relatively suitable technologies are often not translated into adoption, simply because. Coal and gas are readily available and cheap. In the current industrial system, moving to an alternative heat source requires not only conscious decision but also investment. The economy alone cannot attract low-carbon and low-carbon heating technologies to the market.

But thanks to this recent research, we have an idea of ​​where and how the combined efforts of the new technology can make a difference. Bloomberg NF and WBCSD have determined that the 19 countries of the Group of 20 (including the European Union) meet 80% of global demand for global warming.

Six of these 20 markets account for 46% of total demand – China, South Korea, France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom. They have favorable market conditions with relatively high market prices that translate to high prices for gas-flame heat. They are in good condition because these are mature markets that can accept heat applications – they have a network of ready-made installation and maintenance providers. Finally, and in many other places, fossil fuels have strong policies that support new heating technologies, including the cost of carbon, making economics less economical.

The BNF White Paper recognizes that economies around the world are three times more likely to have a policy of reducing electricity than a global warming policy. There are places where the above-mentioned carbon prices, and some advanced technologies, such as high-temperature pumps, are more marketable than today’s models.

Fortunately, companies themselves are making promises from zero-emission emissions, which will force future renewable heat applications, taking into account their size and size. This source of demand reduces production and ultimately costs. Those companies that are willing to explore every renewable heat application today can help create tomorrow’s markets and technologies.

Nathaniel Bulaard is BloombergNEF’s Chief Content Officer.

21 2021 Bloomberg

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