Feeling the Industrial Heat: Carving a Path to Green Thermal

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Organizations the world over are committing to net zero carbon emissions, and have understood and in many cases captured the low-hanging fruit of greening their electricity supply. But the road to green thermal adoption — or the decarbonization of heat processes — requires business plans that anticipate maturing green technologies and build in the flexibility to switch as those technologies become available and commercially attractive.

Influential factors might include when the cost of electricity generated by expanding solar and wind installation is consistently close to zero, or markets putting a price on carbon.

ENGIE Impact, the strategic and engineering advisory arm of French energy giant ENGIE, has, for example, been working with a client that produces chemical and consumer goods, using processes that require temperatures of about 250 degrees Celsius.

gradient-quote It’s a mid-temperature application. And they were looking to invest in a more efficient gas heating solution, but they also wanted a deeper analysis of the green solutions, which include biomass boilers, biomethane boilers or green electric heaters. gradient-quote-right
Josh Martin, Senior Director of ENGIE Impact Australia

On a strictly financial basis, ENGIE Impact found the cost of switching to a green thermal supply would be 18% higher than gas boilers, “but once we accounted for a carbon price, the business case became more favorable”, Martin tells pv magazine Australia. In fact, electric heaters powered by renewable energy sources were found to offer the lowest total cost when the carbon price was considered, and significantly reduced the company’s greenhouse gas emissions over the asset lifetime.

ENGIE Impact exists solely to accelerate decarbonization. It started Australian operations early this year with a staff of nine, and is now building additional teams of five in both Sydney and Perth to meet demand.

Martin says, “It’s good to see that organizations are taking this seriously; probably the most humbling thing to me is that we’re seeing a lot of action.”

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