Making industrial heat management more sutainable

In order to substantially reduce CO2 emissions, the contribution of industry is indispensable. Sectors such as chemicals, steel, paper and food use high-temperature heat for production processes, thereby releasing a lot of CO2. ECN part of TNO develops technologies that help to design processes so that they have as little impact on the environment as possible. Heat pumps, reuse of residual heat, geothermal energy and storage of CO2 are essential.

Industry uses a lot of heat at temperatures up to 200 degrees, for which gas-fired steam systems are currently used. Replacing these with heat pumps that reuse residual heat from industry makes the heat system much more energy-efficient. There is double profit when the heat pump is driven by sustainably generated electricity. The CO2 emissions for the heat supply will then be reduced to zero. Residual heat can be made circular by upgrading it to the required process temperature via the heat pump and reusing it.

Knowledge of technology and processes

ECN part of TNO provides expertise to develop new technologies together with the energy-intensive industry and their suppliers, and also has knowledge of their processes. The industry is doing two things at once: companies are contributing to a more sustainable heat system and at the same time saving energy and therefore money. Ever stricter regulation of CO2 emissions is an extra incentive to get to work on this. ECN part of TNO not only supports companies in applying innovations in their production process, such as the heat pump, but also devises and develops new concepts to make their process more sustainable.

Combining heat pump and geothermal energy

Pooling the expertise of ECN and TNO provides industry with interesting combinations of technologies, for example heat pumps with geothermal energy. The exchange of knowledge about heat production and storage between the built-up environment and industry will give an extra boost to innovation. We are also developing flexible hybrid energy systems to be able to switch between gas and electricity during the industrial process when the price is low due to a large supply of solar or wind energy.

Testing in new lab

The Carnot Lab, which will be built in the near future, will be a breeding ground for innovations in the field of industrial heat management and heat pumps. In close cooperation with industry, we are using the extensive test facilities to develop and test new technologies under real industrial conditions. This should make investing in heat pumps more attractive for companies. Testing on a megawatt scale is planned this year. Companies can test the technical operation of newly developed heat pumps in the lab, as well as their economic feasibility. Our country is playing a pioneering role in the development of these technologies. This is an extra incentive for industry to help shape this.

Towards CO2 neutral industry

Dr Robert de Boer


Dr Robert de Boer

  • Sustainable Process Technology


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