Decarbonisation of heat: Analysis of the potential of low temperature waste heat in UK industries

Dr Ronald Muhumuza and Professor Philip Eames published an article from the work funded by "DEcarbonisation of Low TemperAture Process Heat Industry".

Fig. 7. Waste heat fractions calculated for each UK industry subsector by temperature range for the (a) 2010 and the (b) 2014 reference

The UK will need to decarbonise low temperature industrial waste heat (up to ≈250 °C) to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emission targets. Industrial waste heat production represents an opportunity for reduction in the use of primary fuels used in the production of commodities. Energy inefficient processes in addition to increased emissions raises the cost of plant operation, – an undesirable scenario for both industrial competitiveness and the environment. Less is known about the quantity and potential applications for recovered low temperature industrial waste heat in UK and the quantification and characterisation of the resource can provide the needed impetus for the development and adoption of green technologies to help achieve the 2050 Net-Zero target. In this work the potential magnitude of the low temperature industrial waste heat resource in the UK is analysed by using sector-level energy intensity values for different industries while drawing on corresponding estimates from previous studies in the USA and by closely mapping the UK Standard Industrial Classification (SIC 2007) against sectors in the USA (NAICS [North American Industry Classification System]). The assessment undertaken finds that the recoverable potential of low temperature waste heat up to ≈250 °C could be up to 83.7% of the total estimated waste heat potential in UK industry. Significant opportunities exist in this low temperature range for waste heat recovery actions at individual sites. Research and Development (R&D) into alternative improved methods for waste heat recovery, storage, and use (WHRSU) technologies could also produce significant positive environmental and industrial impact.

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