Decarbonization is vital in every area of life. It has been shown that heat pumps are one of the most practical ways of lowering heating costs and CO2 emissions in private homes. But in this article, we are not concerned with the small heat pumps that are suitable for individual homes. We want to look at large-scale industrial heat pumps and where they can be best applied. MAN Energy Solutions offers district heating as well as heating and cooling for process industries such as chemical & petrochemical, pulp & paper or food & bevarage.
Heating and cooling account for approximately 50% of global energy consumption and 40% of CO2 emissions. The current situation is simply not sustainable in terms of cost efficiency and climate protection. So any changes we can bring about should be worthwhile. Powered by renewable electricity, a large-scale heat pump is an economical way to fully decarbonize the heat and cold supply of a factory or district heating plant. Heat pumps also enable sector coupling and can help balance renewable energy surpluses. The technology is well known, extremely reliable, robust, and efficient.
Energy-intensive industries like chemical & petrochemical or pulp & paper need superheated process steam supply, whereas the food & beverage sector needs a wider range of temperatures, including cooling. MAN heat pumps can be scaled to the needs and circumstances of each business, making energy consumption, efficient, future ready and resilient. Here we present four sectors that can benefit from industrial-scale heat pump technology.
District heating already provides environmental, economic, and social benefits compared to individual heating. Powering district heating with heat pumps brings additional advantages. A large-scale heat pump can upgrade heat from sources such as sewage treatment plants or river water to the level of district heating, thus replacing fossil fuels.
Chemical & petrochemical
The chemical & petrochemical industries not only produce but also consume enormous amounts of oil and gas. Heat pumps offer a practical way to electrify processes and reduce CO2 output and secure the fossil feedstock for the production process. Heat pumps can convert low and high temperature waste heat to useful high-quality process heat or steam and plays an important role in the future ready industries.
Food & beverage
Food and beverage production requires vast quantities of thermal energy for both heating and cooling processes. MAN heat pumps contribute to making these processes more sustainable and cost-efficient and reducing dependency on fossil fuels. Manufacturers can save on carbon taxes as well as on fuel.
Pulp & paper
Pulp and paper production is one of the most energy-intensive processes. Drying pulp, paper or tissue accounts for some 70% of the energy used in this sector. Industrial heat pumps can produce the steam necessary for the drying processes by applying electricity from renewable sources to waste heat streams from the drying process. Heat pumps not only decarbonize the energy supply but reduce plant energy costs and ensures customers remain competitive and robust in facing volatile energy markets.
MAN Energy Solutions heat pumps have a temperature supply range of 60–280°C, which is suitable for heating water and liquids, process heating, or steam production. The power output ranges from 10 megawatts thermal (MWth) to above 90 MWth per heat pump unit. Higher outputs can be achieved with several heat pumps in parallel operation.
The heart of the heat pump is the compressor. MAN Energy Solutions has decades of experience in developing compressors for the most demanding conditions. The wide range of designs ensures each pump can be tailored to the customer’s specific power, temperature, and space requirements.
These high-temperature heat pumps bring the economic and climate-friendly benefits of domestic heat pumps to large-scale industrial applications. And this is not wishful thinking. For a perfect demonstration of large heat pumps at work, we can look to the Danish port city of Esbjerg, where Danish utility company DIN Forsyning has installed two MAN heat pump systems to replace the old coal-fired plant and supply around 100,000 inhabitants with zero-emission heat.
Esbjerg heat pump case
The Danish parliament set the goal of phasing out combined heat and power (CHP) plants by 2030. As a result, the Danish port city of Esbjerg decided to shut down its coal-fired power plant, which used to provide about half of the district heating in Esbjerg.
With a nominal heating capacity of 60 MW, the new heat pump system supplies some 100,000 local inhabitants with approximately 280,000 MWh of heat annually. MAN heat pump technology enables the use of renewable energy sources, which further reduce the need for fossil power plants. The location at the port allows the use of renewable power from nearby wind farms and seawater as a heat source.