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Research Report

Industrial Heat Pumps: Electrifying Industry’s Process Heat Supply

March 30, 2022
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Industry accounts for more than 25% of the United States’ energy use and energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, which must be reduced to achieve climate stabilization goals. A familiar but little-used technology—industrial heat pumps (IHPs)—offer a promising path to greater electrification in industry and ultimately to energy GHG reductions. This research shows that moderate IHP deployment in industrial sectors with high process-heating demands could save up to 32% of net energy use and CO2 emissions/year—equivalent to the emissions of 1.3 million U.S. homes and 2.7 million passenger cars, respectively. IHPs can have simple economic paybacks under 2 years where the price of electricity is within the range of that of natural gas. Potential IHP adopters face many uncertainties with regard to full implementation costs, integration, and maintenance capabilities of the workforce. Field-level demonstrations are crucial to lowering these hurdles. Therefore, there is ample opportunity for incentives from policy and utilities to accelerate IHP acceptance and adoption. Broad support and engagement from multiple stakeholders is needed to hasten learning and deliver on the massive impact potential of IHPs.

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Emerging Technologies Energy Efficiency Strategies and Upgrades Industrial Programs
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