Business case for industrial waste heat/cold recovery

Specific Challenge:

Energy and fuels represent an important part of the production costs in several Resource and Energy Intensive Industries (REII). While a lot of technical progress has already been done in REII to reduce the energy consumption of the main industrial processes, significant parts of the input-energy are still lost in the form of waste heat/cold by gas, liquid or solid streams. Wide-scale deployment of industrial waste heat/cold recovery is hindered, among others, by the lack of financial/ economic justification for the required equipment and, at times, by the limited industrial applicability (i.e. process re-integration). Often, it is forgotten that directly or after an intermediate transformation step, the sources of heat/cold losses of a given industry can be a valuable resource for other industries and buildings/ District Heating and Cooling operators and that they could be of commercial interest for the waste heat/cold producer.


2018 (Innovation action):

Cost-benefit models for industrial waste heat/cold recovery:

Proposals should develop integrated cost-benefit simulation tools that, based on the characterization of processes, heat/cold streams and other relevant variables, can determine the best utilisation options of recovered waste heat/cold and/ or surplus renewable energy from industrial and eventual other sources (when available). Proposals should also consider the possibility to contribute to efficient use/system integration of renewable energy sources through e.g. heat/cold storage and flexible production.

The proposals are expected to put forward simulation tools that would allow industrial sites/parks to determine the most financial attractive option for using their recovered waste heat/cold and/or surplus renewable energy. This should be based on, inter-alia, waste heat/cold recovery (and storage if necessary) costs (including equipment and process adaptation), retail and/ or whole sale energy prices, (new contracts) administrative and legal costs, (external connecting) infrastructure costs, internal and external demand, waste heat/cold as source of flexibility in electricity system. Other relevant variables should also be included, inter-alia, characterisation of barriers and opportunities on the DHC side (e.g. competition with other heat/cold sources, thermal storage, regulatory conditions). The simulation tools are expected to be flexible enough to allow a large number of different types of industrial sites/ parks to use it, i.e. should allow many energy intensive process characterizations irrespective of the industrial sector and geographic location, and should also take into account supply-demand dynamics.

The simulation tools should be validated through demonstration in real operating conditions in industrial facilities.

Proposals are expected to include clear business model development and a clear path to finance and deployment. Key partners should have the capability and interest in making the developed solution a core part of their business/service model to their clients.

Proposals are expected to look at relevant business models for the collaboration outside the plant/industrial park and have strong communication and dissemination components in order to reach many industries, large private facilities and public authorities.

This topic contributes to the roadmap of the Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency (SPIRE) cPPP.

The activities are expected to be implemented in the range of TRL 4-8 (please see part G of the General Annexes).

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 3 and 4 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

2018 (Innovation action):

Proposals are expected to demonstrate the impacts listed below, using quantified indicators and targets wherever possible:

  • Accurate prediction and holistic modelling of industrial waste heat/cold and/or surplus renewable energy from industrial or other sources from different geographical and market settings;
  • Better impact of the various factors/ variables on the cost-benefits of industrial waste heat/cold and/or surplus renewable energy from industrial or other sources;
  • Valorisation in assessments of cost-benefit of industrial waste heat/cold and/or surplus renewable energy from industrial and eventual other sources;
  • Number of industrial sectors/ sites/ parks, public authorities (including energy agencies), large private facilities (e.g. sport and shopping centres, non-energy intensive industrial parks) and DHC operators aware, interested and supporting the implementation of waste heat/cold and/or surplus renewable energy from industrial and eventual other sources recovery/use for process re-integration or commercial use, depending on the outcome of the simulations;
  • Primary energy savings triggered by the project (in GWh/year);
  • Investments in sustainable energy triggered by the project (in million Euro).

Additional positive effects can be quantified and reported when relevant and wherever possible:

  • Reduction of the greenhouse gases emissions (in tCO2-eq/year) and/or air pollutants (in kg/year) triggered by the project.
Types of action: IA Innovation action
Planned opening date:
25 January 2018
Deadline: 04 September 2018

Source: HORIZON 2020 – The European Commission