Heat Pumps in the Industry

Wärmepumpen in der Industrie
© Fraunhofer ISE

For the industry, heat pumps are interesting for several reasons. In 2018, around 20 percent of the final energy demand in Germany was for process heat, much of it at temperatures below 150°C. For the most part, process heat is generated by burning fossil fuels. In order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years, a switch to electricity-based heat generation is necessary. Heat pumps are able to provide heat at the required temperatures efficiently and provide stable process heat, even in large capacity classes.

Efficient large-scale heat pumps for industry, which use renewable electricity, are a promising alternative for decarbonizing the heat grids. With the phase-out of coal-fired power generation, over 13 GW thermal capacity will be lost in district heating grids by 2038. A replacement must be found. In the long term, the ideal solution will not be gas-fired plants, but rather a more climate-neutral system. Heat pumps can already replace the heating capacity of fossil power plants in local heat grids. In addition to environmentally friendly heat generation, they support sector coupling and add flexibility, thus increasing the use of renewable energy in the energy system.

R&D for Large Heat pumps and Industry:

  • refrigerants for high temperatures and large temperature differences
  • development and adaption of compressor types for large temperature differences and higher temperatures compared to conventional building heating
  • increase efficiency through component development and optimization
  • adaption of cycling process to new refrigerants
  • system integration from a technical-economic perspective
  • cost reductions with new production technologies
  • identification and integration of suitable low temperature heat sources