The provision of low temperature industrial process heat in 2018 was responsible for over 30% of total industrial primary energy use in the UK. The majority of this, 75%, was produced by burning oil, gas and coal. Low temperature process heat is a major component of energy use in many industrial sectors including food and drink, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, manufacture of metal products and machinery, printing, and textiles. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with low temperature process heat generation and meet UK targets, in the long term, will require a transition to zero carbon electricity, fuels or renewable heat. In the short term this is not feasible. We propose an approach in which heat is more effectively used within the industrial process, and/or exported to meet heat demands in the neighbouring area allowing significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions per unit industrial production to be achieved and potentially provide an additional revenue source.
We are going to perform a programme of research that will help provide a no regrets route through the transition to eventual full decarbonisation. The research consists of,
i) fundamental and applied research to cost effectively improve components and systems performance for improved heat recovery, heat storage, heat upgrading, high temperature heat pumping and transporting heat with low loss, and
ii) develop new temporal modelling approaches to predict how these technologies can be effectively integrated to utilise heat across a multi-vector energy system and evaluate a transactive modelling platform to address the complexity of how heat can be reutilised economically within energy systems.
A series of case studies analysing the potential greenhouse gas reductions and cost benefits and revenues that may be achieved will be undertaken for selected industrial processes including a chemical production facility in Hull, to assess the benefits of i) individual technologies, ii) when optimally integrated within a heating/cooling network, or iii) when combined in a multi-vector energy system.
The initial direct beneficiaries will be industries that can manufacture the newly developed range of systems. The next group of beneficiaries will be industries with large amounts of low/medium temperature process heat, e.g. food and drink, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, manufacture of metal products and machinery, printing, and textiles. These industries will gain from utilising more effective energy systems and technologies, that help them, in a cost effective ordered way, meet the UK targets of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050 while, importantly, remaining competitive. By participating in invited project workshops, progress meetings and hosting visits, industry partners will have the opportunity to learn about the research progress and be in a prime position to commercially exploit the project outputs. All the involved universities have business development teams that have experience of the successful commercial exploitation of research work. Intellectual property arising will be patented when appropriate to facilitate commercial exploitation. Industries, bodies and regions seeking to develop integrated multi vector energy systems will benefit from the knowledge learned from the assessment of the application of a transactive energy approach to case studies based on real data.
The development of a successful transactive energy approach will facilitate the transition to an integrated, distributed energy system that maximises use of available resources to deliver the required energy service at least cost. This will benefit all energy consumers and prosumers in the network area.
Government policy makers will benefit in that the reduction in effective primary energy consumption per unit industrial production will reduce greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining or increasing competitiveness. They will also benefit in that this project will deliver case study data that can be used to promote the role out of the technologies and methodology developed to other suitable regions which will help meet the three goals of the energy trilemma, energy security, energy equity and environmental sustainability.