Heat production accounts for half of the world’s final energy consumption and makes up 40% of global carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions. It also stands as the primary cause of CO₂ emissions within the industrial sector.
What is heat decarbonization?Heat decarbonization, also known as heat transition, is a process for reducing CO₂ emissions from heat production. As a first step, this can be achieved by making fuel usage more efficient. Later, this fossil fuel can be replaced with carbon-free fuel. Alternatively, heat production can also be electrified by using power from renewable energy. Existing heat networks can be transformed fast and at a large scale into cost-effective and flexible low-carbon energy systems.
What technologies can help to decarbonize heating?
There are several applications that can help you to decarbonize heat networks. At Siemens Energy, we provide tailor-made CHP and Power to Heat (P2H) solutions for residential, commercial, or industrial sectors.
What is the best heat decarbonization option for your infrastructure?
For maximum efficiency, it often makes sense to combine different technologies. To make the best choice, there are several factors to consider, such as the required temperature level, dispatchable power needs, green electricity cost, availability of waste heat, and annual heat curve. For instance, if you have a lot of renewable energy, it makes sense to consider Power-to-Heat (P2H).
CHP, electric boilers, and heat pumps: heat temperature comparison
As most of the factors influencing the technology choice depend on the location of the heating network, there is no one-fits-all solution. However, a pre-selection of suitable technologies can be done, based on the temperature level that is required for the specific application. The matrix below shows the temperature level that can be achieved with different technologies.
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Convert existing plants into cogeneration plants
Repurposing existing power plants or heating plants can substantially contribute to decarbonizing your assets. A heating plant can be transformed into a cogeneration plant, and a thermal power plant can be turned into a CHP plant. Alternatively, you can convert the complete thermal plant into a Power to Heat application.
With our Brownfield Transformation approach, you can convert existing assets within a short time frame into a low-carbon facility while re-using the existing infrastructure as much as possible.
Use renewable energy to generate heat
Power-to-heat (P2H) systems signal a paradigm shift in the capabilities of low-carbon energy systems. Since heat pumps or electric boilers can be exclusively powered by green electricity, it allows the integration of renewable energy sources in heat energy production—an integration that is both crucial and long overdue.
By adjusting their heat output in response to variations in renewable energy generation, power-to-heat systems can also provide flexibility to the electricity grid. Power-to-heat systems convert surplus renewable energy into usable thermal energy for local or central heating and cooling needs.
Our heat decarbonization solutions provide several benefits
Heat networks can play a major role in decarbonizing heat production at a reasonable cost. The technologies to decarbonize industrial heating and district heating already exist and are ready to be scaled.
By switching from coal- or oil-based steam plants to Gas Turbine powered CHP it is possible to rapidly reduce carbon emissions. Deep de-carbonization can be achieved by switching from natural gas to biofuels or hydrogen. Even negative CO2 emissions can be reached by combining Carbon Capture Storage (CCS) with biofuels (BECCS).
Due to their high Coefficient of Performance (COP), heat pumps provide low carbon heat. They are completely carbon neutral when powered entirely by renewable energy.
Heat can be stored significantly more cost effectively than electricity. The combination of P2H with CHP stabilizes the power market. Heat pumps are preferably operated at times of low power prices due to surplus renewable energy. When power prices are high CHP plants can profitably sell power and produce heat at the same time. At peak heat demand it is possible to operate the heat pump together with the CHP plant.