IEDO support the research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) of technologies that improve thermal processes and systems, which includes both components that enable, and systems that utilize, process heating, refrigeration, and cooling.
What is process heating?
Process heating is the application of heat to manufacturing processes and accounts for over half of all onsite energy consumption at manufacturing facilities. Every industrial subsector uses heat in some of their processes. Ceramics manufacturers use kilns to fire glass; the forest products industry uses industrial drying to convert wood pulp into paper. Steelmakers require heat to melt carbon-rich steel, which has a melting point of over 1,000 degrees Celsius.
However, process heating leads to an enormous amount of wasted energy and carbon emissions.
Electrification of Thermal Processes
Currently, 95% of industrial heat is generated is through the combustion of fossil fuels. However, there are a series of technology options available to electrify process heating, depending on the scale and process characteristics of a target application. These electrification options include technologies like induction, radiative heating, and industrial heat pumps, among others. In general, these technologies are most economically viable at lower process heating temperatures. IEDO is helping to develop cost-effective technologies for high-temperature applications.
Enhancing Waste Heat Recovery
Around a third of all energy used in process heating ends up as waste. As heat is used in a thermal industrial process, much of that energy is typically rejected, at temperatures too low to be useful for that process; any unused heat represents wasted energy. Some of this heat can be recovered and used for other thermal processes or used to generate electric power.
Waste heat can also be stored, which allows its energy to be used for later applications. All of these solutions would increase industrial energy efficiency. Although there are thermodynamic limits to the amount of heat that can be recovered, new technologies hold promise for significant improvement in waste heat recovery.