The Biden administration has laid out a comprehensive roadmap to help five energy-intensive manufacturing sectors reduce their fuel- and power-related carbon emissions and achieve net-zero by 2050. The pathways proposed for the iron and steel, cement and concrete, food and beverage, chemical manufacturing, and petroleum refining sectors may have substantial implications for future power demand.
The roadmap released by the Department of Energy (DOE) on Sept. 7 outlines four pathways that could dramatically transform how the five sectors, which account for 50% of the energy-related CO2 emissions in the industrial sector, produce and consume their energy.
Using energy more efficiently in the industrial sector may be a key cost-effective option, given the sector’s generation and use of heat, including for process heating, boilers, and combined heat and power (CHP) systems.
The DOE also prominently highlighted the potential of CHP technology, particularly if switched over to emerging low-carbon fuels in the future, to tamp down energy losses. “Industrial CHP systems, through both topping and bottoming cycles, can provide needed energy services for some subsectors with overall energy efficiencies of 65%–85% compared to separate production of heat and power, which collectively averages 45%–55% system efficiency,” it says. “In particular, CHP is prevalent in chemicals, pulp and paper, refining, primary metals, and food industries, but can also be found in crop production, nonmetallic minerals, and other uses.”