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Factory heat upgrade pilot
for less CO2 emissions

Vienna, 19 September, 2023 – SUSHEAT project was launched recently with a secured European Union funding of almost €4.7 million from the Horizon Europe/CINEA programme to provide a lab-scale, pilot high-temperature thermal heat upgrade solution for industrial processes. The SUSHEAT solution will harvest and store thermal energy up to 250°C for industry to use on demand.

The project’s expected results could speed up solutions for industrial heat using solar, waste and ambient sources working with High-Temperature Heat Pumps (HT-HP) and thermal energy storage tanks. Energy savings of more than 100 Terawatts per hour in the European market could be achieved, which would mean a deep decarbonisation of industry with less carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

One-fifth ofglobal emissions from factories

Industrial processes require large amounts of flexible, on-demand energy supply to generate heat and steam for product manufacturing. Currently, these intensive energy processes are powered by fossil fuels that account for more than 20% of world energy use and CO2 emissions. Fossil fuel burners are flexible because they provide energy at any range of temperatures when it is needed, but they are expensive and polluting for companies.

When manufacturing companies exceed their CO2 quotas, they offset their emissions by buying costly carbon credits to pollute. This unsustainable practice will only become obsolete when effective and flexible, clean renewable energy systems are developed for intensive processes. A new approach to the design of every link in the renewable energy supply chain is needed.

Stable, on-demand clean energy for industry:

The SUSHEAT solution plans to deliver stable, on-demand heat with a full decoupling from any waste heat recovery and renewables availability.

The project will develop and validate a heat upgrade system that aims to deliver reliable and flexible industrial heat between 150°C-250°C. Three novel key technologies will be validated:

  • An advanced HT-HP, including the development and testing of suitable components;
  • A new Phase Change Material (PCM) bio-inspired Thermal Energy Storage (TES) system;
  • A Control & Integration Twin (CIT) system for energy efficiency and effectiveness.

    Existing, off-the-shelf solar Fresnel Collectors will be part of the SUSHEAT heat upgrade system.

The SUSHEATsolution

Low-carbon heat will be fed via solar thermal, ambient or waste heat recovery, and upgraded by a HT-HP working with helium and other low-global-impact-potential fluids to minimise running and capital costs and emissions. The system flexibility will be provided via two newly-designed bio-inspired Thermal Energy Storage (TES) tanks that are adaptable to the heat requirements at target temperatures. The concept is completed with a smart CIT system based on AI which will be fed and optimised by industrial demonstration data.

The SUSHEAT pilot rig components will be developed in leading EU labs and finally assembled, demonstrated and validated at the Technical Readiness Level (TRL) of 5 in a leading Swedish lab.

The ProjectCo-ordinator

SUSHEAT is being led and co-ordinated by the Thermal Systems and Renewable Energy (STER) group from the Energy Engineering Department at Europe’s largest public university, UNED (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia) in Madrid, Spain.

SUSHEAT Co-ordinator from Energy Engineering Department, Professor Antonio J. Rovira, said Europe must find practical energy solutions to decarbonise the industrial manufacturing sectors.

“SUSHEAT has proposed a hybrid energy system to provide heat for industrial processes on demand. We hope the SUSHEAT concept will provide a feasible and reliable heat upgrade solution for industry that delivers climate, environmental and cost benefits,” he said.

“We need to design heat upgrade systems that work as well as fossil burners. Finding realistic solutions to deliver dispatchable and sustainable energy at the right time and price on the factory floor should also ease pressure on the electricity grid in the future,” he added.

The SUSHEAT Consortium of 14 partners has an unusually high number of SMEs that are eager to bring results to market post-project. The project comprises multiple-sector engineers with specific expertise in the project’s key outputs, as well as partners with business, communication and modelling experience. Key to the data input and validation of the SUSHEAT system are the two global industrial partners that come from the fish and dairy sectors.