HEAT PUMPS FOR INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS
Decarbonising process heating and cooling is a critical challenge as we work towards net zero targets. Australian industry accounts for 44% of the nation’s end-use energy and 52% of that is for supplying process heat with natural gas as the leading source of energy.
lready there are commercial, proven industrial heat pump and thermal battery technologies that can supply required process heating and cooling, as well as the energy reliability and flexible to maximise renewable and demand response benefits.
Heat pumps can be used for a range of industrial, commercial and residential applications, for providing both heating and cooling. Until recently, heat pumps were only considered viable for lower (less than 120 °C) temperatures, however, that temperature range is increasing with high temperature heat pumps now being developed and tested for high-heat applications such as drying of building products.
How heat pumps work
Heat pumps are a class of active heat-recovery equipment that allows the temperature of a waste-heat stream to be increased to a higher, more useful temperature. Many heat pumps also operate in the opposite direction to provide cooling. Refrigerators and reverse-cycle air conditioners are examples of heat pumps that we use in our every day lives.
As well as already being very efficient, heat pumps are electrically powered, enabling them to be powered by on-site (and off-site) renewable generation, such as solar PV. Combined with thermal batteries, heat pumps can supply heating and cooling efficiently and economically when it is needed enable participation in demand management arrangements to take advantage of incentives.
Learn more about heat pump technologies and view case studies from Australia and around the world at FutureHeat.info
A2EP's work assessing and demonstrating the potential for heat pumps
Our research and demonstration projects looking at the potential of heat pumps to decarbonise industrial process heating and cooling extends back more than. We have produced a number of respected reports and worked on several key government projects looking at heat pumps. See below for more information and links to the reports and project outcomes.
Renewable Energy for Process Heat Opportunity Study
In early 2019 with funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), we initiated a project to determine the technical and commercial feasibility of replacing fossil-fuelled process heating technologies in manufacturing settings with renewables-powered alternatives, and to detail pathways to implementation including technical specification and a business case for investment.
A report was delivered at the end of the second phase of the study which drew on the findings of 20 pre-feasibility studies and seven feasibility studies to demonstrate the economic and technical feasibility of heat pumps for low temperature heating applications. It identifies challenges to heat pump implementation and measures to address these challenges.
Futureheat.info web resource
As part of the Renewable Energy for Process Heat Opportunity Study project, A2EP developed the FutureHeat website to help build awareness of the benefits of industrial heat pumps and thermal batteries to deliver renewable process heat and to build industry capacity for implementing these solutions across the country. The website includes technical information, case studies, tools (including a heat pump selection tool) and industry reports.
Technical guidelines for air source heat pump water heaters
A2EP was engaged in 2022 by the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) to develop technical guidelines for commercial and industrial air source heat pump water heaters. The guidelines feature sector-specific advice and case studies for heat pumps in agriculture (dairy farms), aquatic centres and multi-unit commercial buildings. Along with the guidelines, A2EP delivered two webinars in support of heat pump activity under the Victorian Energy Upgrades.
Heat pump feasibility study for the NSW Government
As part of our ongoing work supporting state governments to deliver business decarbonisation and net zero programs, A2EP is delivering a heat pump feasibility study funded by the NSW Government. We recently visited the a2 Milk Company processing facility in Smeaton Grange, with several clean technology leaders including pitt&sherry, gTET (green Thermal Energy Technologies) and Minus40 Consulting Engineers.
2xEP High temperature heat pumps for the Australian Food Industry report
With its partners, A2EP developed this report in 2017 to define the likely feasibility and range of applications for heat pumps in the food industry, with a focus on high temperature (HT) heat pumps delivering useful heat at 66 °C - 150 °C. This work was a continuation of the 2xEP project investigating the opportunities for innovation in technology/business models that could transform energy productivity in the food value chain. Heat pumps were identified as a key technology to enable the electrification of the food processing with their ability to recover heat from waste streams to boost temperatures, displace steam, and in some cases simultaneously provide process cooling.
Heat pumps for aquatic centres
With gas prices rising rapidly, aquatic centres are a source of high costs and emissions for councils, swim schools and private schools. More and more are looking at heat pumps as an alternative efficient source of water heating which can enable the electrification of these facilities, utilisation of on-site renewable generation and as a way to use waste heat from other processes. While converting is not simple, it is not as costly as some may think.
A2EP has delivered a number of webinars and materials specifically looking at how to approach switching aquatic centres to heat pumps.
Case studies of industrial and commercial heat pump systems
Learn about the savings and benefits heat pumps are already delivering in these real-world case studies from Australia and beyond.
Installed system case studies:
101 Collins St, Melbourne
- domestic hot water for multi-storey building
Doone Kennedy Hobart Aquatic Centre
- water heating and thermal battery for aquatic centre
Alliance Group meat processing facility
- water heating for sterilisation and cleaning
Beijing Municipal Administrative Centre
- district cooling and heating
Montague fruit-packing facility
- heat for cleaning and preparing fruit