Helping companies achieve their sustainable energy objectives

An integrated approach to sourcing low-cabon energy and fuel

Heating & cooling in the industry

Heating in industry is one of the most challenging energy end-uses to decarbonize because cost-effective and low-carbon alternatives to using fossil fuels that directly meet industrial requirements are currently limited. For example, biomass is not always suited to replacing natural gas for direct heating applications as the combustion gases might affect the quality of the product the company is manufacturing. Similarly, electrifying processes may not be feasible today given the high temperature requirements of some industrial processes, and electrofuels, such as green hydrogen, are not yet cost competitive in most markets.
Nevertheless, some industrial heating and cooling loads can be decarbonized today using the following solutions:

  • Electrifying low- to medium temperature heating;
  • Meeting cooling demand through solar cooling systems;
  • Adopting low-carbon solutions such as bioenergy, waste and solar thermal for heating;
  • Integrating low-carbon heating and cooling solutions through district networks;
  • Using electrofuels as a solution in the medium to long term.

In addition, adopting circular industrial processes can also reduce energy consumption for heating and cooling. Where no viable low-carbon alternative exists, companies could explore carbon capture and use or storage technologies.

Examples of how a company can take an integrated approach to sourcing low-carbon heating and cooling solutions in industry

  • Industrial networks, clusters and hubs
    These enable easier recovery, transportation and use of waste materials and outputs for heating and cooling purposes. For example, collaborating with local partners to develop low or zero-carbon heat networks with waste heat recovery, using heat sources such as water, steam and gases from industrial processes or refrigeration systems. Industrial clusters could also undertake joint investment in carbon capture and storage facilities for emissions associated with industrial processes that can currently not be decarbonized.
  • Digital resource management platforms
    These platforms can provide information on the availability of industrial by-products and waste that companies can use as feedstock or as an energy source for heat.
  • Collaborating with suppliers and customers to source bioenergy feedstocks
    Identifying feedstocks in the value chain, such as cooking oil, food waste or waste wood, can help to make bioenergy for heating use more cost-effective and improve security of supply. Working with suppliers or customers will enable those companies to capture the value of waste outputs and monetize it, leading to an improved business case and hence security of supply.
  • Collaborating to invest in electrofuels
    The production of electrofuels, for example green hydrogen, would accelerate if companies along its value chain collaborate to identify local demand and potential funding sources. Working with suppliers, customers and other interested companies can help to limit risk and upfront investment.

The benefits of collaborating to source low-carbon heating and cooling solutions in industry

Optimized resource use

Clustering companies that can make use of each other’s waste and by-products (either directly as a source of heat, through combustion or through a conversion process) will help to optimize resource use, reduce costs and decrease emissions. It can also provide other benefits such as accelerating knowledge sharing and improving access to skilled labor.

Reduced risks

Collaboration with suppliers or other users of feedstocks to aggregate demand can help to mitigate feedstock supply risks, such as uncertain availability and price, and ensure consistent feedstock quality.


Driving innovation

Collaboration with technology partners, suppliers and other end-users will foster innovation, and support the development of new technologies, use cases and financing mechanisms, thus enabling low-carbon and low-cost alternatives currently unavailable in the market.

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