Half of 2050 energy mix from heat pumps, heaters

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Will HoegTemp be the hottestindustrial heat pump in Europe?

High-temperature heat pumps (HT-HP) will be a major part of the energy mix in 2050 supplying thermal heating and cooling technologies for industrial processing.  Factory manufacturing accounts for over 20 per cent of energy use and CO2 emissions in supplying food and goods for human and animal consumption.

Based on today’s policy settings, the IEA estimates that, due to electrification, heat pumps and electric heaters will account for 50 per cent of the units sold and that renewable energy will account for 70 per cent of the electricity generation by 2050. (1)

For the SUSHEAT thermal upgrade system, Norway’s Enerin AS will put its prototype HoegTemp HT-HP to the test of reaching temperatures of 250 °C and beyond. This temperature is necessary to provide clean thermal energy for factory processes such as high-temperature drying, distillation or rapid heating.

Almost every heat pump manufacturer in the world is targeting high-temperature industrial heat pumps. The speed of HT-HP uptake and integration into industry will rely on several factors. Being able to design, engineer and develop components, such as pistons, sealings solutions and lubricants that sustain high temperatures will determine the success of achieving higher thermal heat temperatures that are suitable for intensive industrial use.

 

Innovative high temperature heat pumpcaptures recycled energy

A render of the Enerin Høeg High-Temperature Heat Pump that will be optimised on SUSHEAT.

Enerin’s main motivation for developing the HoegTemp heat pump is to make a meaningful contribution to the world’s energy market. According to figures from the European Heat Pump Association, European industry alone uses 500 billion kWh of heating between 100°C and 200°C each year, mainly from fossil fuels. HoegTemp and other high-temperature heat pumps can potentially reduce the consumption by 300 bn kWh, saving money for industry at the same time.

With a temperature flexible heat pump, such as HoegTemp — which can move heat from and to any temperaure in the area of -100 to 200 °C — most of the industrial heat up to 200 °C, with recycled energy from cooling or waste heat, can be used. A heating process demanding 200 °C — combined with a cooling process demanding 0 °C — can amount to an energy consumption reduction of as much as 40% with the HoegTemp. A higher Co-efficient of Performance (COP) can be achieved, of up to 70%, for processes with lower temperature differences.

The HoegTemp uses helium that acts as an ideal gas, and works equally well at any temperature combination. It is very quick to adapt to changing operating conditions. In conventional heat pumps the degradation of lubrication oil at temperatures higher than 160 °C is one of the current, impeding technical limitations. Often it is necessary to combine several compressors for higher temperature lifts, sometimes using different working media to achieve the desired heat pumping.

The HoegTemp process components are oil-free, and the lubrication oil is used only for the mechanical components, which are kept at normal temperatures.

Renewable electrification —big hurdles to fossil fuel, subsidy phase-outs

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Why is gas fuel of choice for industry?

To date, gas has been the current fuel of choice for intensive factory processing because it has proved to be plentiful and extremely flexible to supply industry with energy that can be delivered at high and low temperatures, within seconds, and at the flick of a switch. But the continued use of fossil fuels leaves energy intensive industries – steel, chemicals, cement, aluminium, glass & fertilisers – fully exposed to the Emissions Trading System (ETS) price.

No concrete plans in Europe to phase out fossil subsidies

The ETS will only get more restrictive under the cap-and-trade system where the buying of carbon emissions’ credits will become even more expensive. (2) This, and the phasing out of fossil fuels was discussed at COP28, which was held in the OPEC Member Country of the United Arab Emirates – a major oil and gas exporter – from 30 November to 12 December, 2023. On 13 December the final landmark UAE Consensus was sealed, where an agreement was reached that all nations should transition away from fossil fuels to achieve net zero by 2050.

Prior to the COP28 meeting, a communique released by the European Environment Agency on 23 November, 2023, called for an immediate “phase out of fossil fuel subsidies” in the EU. Although the call is there, the release makes it clear that “most EU Member States have no concrete plans on how and when they will phase out these subsidies, therefore, it is unlikely but (sic) uncertain that the EU will make much progress towards phasing out fossil fuel subsidies by 2030”.

The communique lists Portugal, Greece, Cyprus, Hungary and Malta as being the countries where fossil fuels subsidies represented the highest shares of gross domestic product (GDP), while fossil fuel subsidies declined in the Czech Republic, Denmark, Poland and Slovakia. “It should be noted that, in terms of absolute value, that more than 60% of all fossil fuel subsidies granted in 2022 were spent in three countries: Germany (EUR 21 billion), Italy (EUR 25 billion) and France (EUR 30 billion).

“According to these reports , many countries have ambitions to move away from fossil fuel use, but only a few (Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Sweden) have translated these ambitions into laws or clear plans that specify when they intend to phase out fossil fuel subsidies”. (4) 

Europe pledges 45% rise in renewables’ share by 2030

Earlier this year the European Council and Parliament published a press release where they agreed provisionally “to raise the share of renewable energy in the EU’s overall energy consumption to 42.5% by 2030 with an additional 2.5% indicative top up that would allow to reach 45 per cent”. Other targeted sectors that were provisionally agreed on were renewable solutions for transport, industry, buildings and district heating and cooling. (5)  

Peak demand predicted for oil, gas, coal in 2030 — IEA 

The IEA predicts that that demand for oil, gas and coal will peak in 2030. The reason for this is that a myriad of policies will start to bite, like more punitive ETS measures which could include increases in carbon taxes, phasing out subsidies, and even banning and phasing out spare parts for the oil industry. (6)  

Concerning the market penetration of heat pumps, and the return on investment to enable increased levels of electrification, there have been many calls in heat pump circles for a de-coupling of renewable-derived electricity prices that are linked to gas-derived electricity prices for the European power spot market, the Epex Spot Market (which excludes Britain and Switzerland). This is extremely complicated due to energy being a strategic commodity where supply and demand needs to be matched in real time.

SUSHEAT solutions to limit impact ofelectrification on the grid

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Industrial sectors that rely on intensive processing want less exposure to spot trades and manufacturing at peak electricity load times when it is more expensive. This is why SUSHEAT is exploring a hybrid, thermal heat upgrade system that is carbon-neutral, aiming to offer flexibility for the industrial sector, limiting the short-and long-term impact of industrial heat electrification on the local grid.

It’s all about efficiency, effectiveness and reliability in energy supply, as well as reducing electricity consumption and CO2 emissions. Ultimately, reliable hybrid renewable energy solutions need to be found for industrial processing that are as flexible and secure as fossil fuels.

Take SUSHEAT partner, Pelagia.  The Norweigan pelagic fish products producer will install the recently-purchased Enerin HoegTemp heat pump for the drying of animal feed to reduce its CO2 quotes that it needs to buy to offset its current emissions, amongst other things. Despite efforts from many companies to get a head-start on their sustainability targets, the IEA states “that the pathway to a 1.5 °C limit on global warming is very tough, but it remains open”.

Analysis of industrial plant essentialfor heat pump integration

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SUSHEAT partner, Enerin, is a newish energy engineering SME founded in 2017 by Niprox, Arne Høeg and Trond-Atle Asphjell to create breakthrough technologies for industrial energy efficiency. The company is responsible for the design and creation of the prototype HoegTemp high-temperature heat pump

Enerin CEO, Arne Høeg, explains that the company’s first product was Thermonitor, a system for monitoring and analysing energy use in buildings and factories.

“The motivation for Enerin came from our experience with integrating heat pumps in industrial processes, and the difficulties in obtaining reliable data for energy use in factories. The Thermonitor, which is an energy flow measurement and logging system, gives a lot of insight into the specific processes that are taking place in a particular plant. Without a detailed analysis of the plant, the integration of the heat pump could be less successful,” Høeg said.

Integration of heat pumpas important as heat pump itself

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Enerin maintains that thorough pre-studies of the energy flows are a good – or rather a necessary – tool to convince owners/decision makers to invest in heat pumps.

Badly implemented projects, due to a lack of crucial information about the energy flow in plants, give heat pumps a bad reputation.

 

For example, is there a coherent flow of waste heat and heat demand? Is the regulation of the boiler temperature good enough to prioritise energy production from the heat pump? Is the heat pump dimensioned correctly to maximise its running time and output?

“Many projects can have a whole lot of value not directly related to the recycled energy, which can improve payback values, such as reducing both water and energy consumption in cooling towers. Also, increased heat and cooling capacity can reduce the needs for future boiler and cooling machine investments,” Høeg explained.

“In our experience, the control and integration of the heat pump is as important as the heat pump itself,” he said.

The birth of theHoegTemp heat pump

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Work on the HoegTemp heat pump started in 2020, as a co-operation with customers in the seafood industry, such as Pelagia and Cargill, funded by Innovation Norway, Enova and the Research Council of Norway. With SUSHEAT, Enerin is aiming to take heat pumping to the next level – 250 °C. HoegTemp means ‘high temperature’ in Norwegian.

Early in November, the SUSHEAT Consortium had the privilege to meet in Norway, Stavanger, to see Enerin’s HoegTemp prototype heat pump in action. The partners visited the IVAR municipal waste treatment company where biogas is made from food waste and sewer from nearby food industries.

HoegTemp heat pump easierfor industry integration

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The ability to lift heat from low temperature sources such as waste heat, cooling water or even ambient heat, to very high temperatures used in industrial processes such as drying, distillation or rapid heating, makes the HoegTemp heat pump easier to integrate than other heat pumps.

At the Grødaland IVAR biogas plant near Stavanger, Norway (above), raw biogas contains CO2 which needs to be removed before the biogas is sold and IVAR uses an amine process to absorb the CO2. This is an energy intensive process cycle, which needs both steam and cooling, now supplied by Enerin’s HoegTemp heat pump.

IVAR biogas plant data to shape design of SUSHEAT rig

This first HoegTemp heat pump was installed at IVAR in Summer, 2023. It has now been in automatic operation for 1700 hours since August. As this is a non-commercial installation, it has been designed to allow heat pumping up to 200 °C, to generate steam at up to 16 barG, from waste heat at 15-25 °C.

“Enerin will use the IVAR installation to test high-temperature design details for SUSHEAT to ensure that we will reach the project target of 250 °C when we have the ultra-high-temperature test rig ready at Swedish partner, KTH. That will be a major breakthrough for industrial heat pumps. The targeted R&D goal to achieve temperatures of up to 250 °C is considered possible,” Høeg said.

A combination of simulations and qualification of the models with real-world testing at the project’s industrial partner sites is necessary. More relevant data is needed for future process optimisations for a number of applicable industrial settings which will be provided by the SUSHEAT industry partners Pelagia and Mandrekas.

Capital needed for further innovation

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Recently, Enerin confirmed two sales worth EUR3.5 million for the installation of its HoegTemp HT-HP at GE Healthcare pharma company in Lindesnes, Norway, and at the Pelagia fish-meal plant in Måløy for the drying of animal feed.

Enerin is now in the process of raising more capital for growth and further improvements, and the company aims to be ready for larger projects in all of the EU from 2024.  

References and links to resource material:

  1. Technology Collaboration Programme by IEA; IEA’s World Energy Outlook: Sales of heat pumps and electric heaters will surpass sales of fossil fuel heaters before 2030 
  2. European Commission; What is the EU ETS? 
  3. European Environment Agency; Fossil fuel subsidies: 17 November, 2023
  4. European Council, Council of the European Union; Council and Parliament reach provisional deal on renewable energy directive; 30 March, 2023
  5. Technology Collaboration Programme by IEA; IEA’s World Energy Outlook: Sales of heat pumps and electric heaters will surpass sales of fossil fuel heaters before 2030 
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