Decarbonizing Industrial Heating
The path to net zero requires the participation of every industry segment. In the report Renewables 2021, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported that heat is the world’s largest energy end use, with industrial processes responsible for just over half of the energy consumed for heat, representing 26% of global emissions. Industrial production growth is expected to continue, and so emission declines will come from energy efficiencies, some uptake in renewables (fuels and electricity), through significant deployment of CCUS and the implementation of hydrogen as a fuel.
In the decarbonization of industrial heat, Nu:ionic is commercializing cost-effective solutions that allow industry to reach near term net zero goals in a pragmatic and future-proof manner. The challenge is significant, and it is our belief that there are 3 key enablers required for meaningful decarbonization of industrial heating to become a reality:
- Availability of cost effective, abundant and continuously non-emitting clean electricity.
- Availability of carbon transportation and sequestration infrastructure.
- Widespread deployment of low carbon hydrogen infrastructure.
There is a chicken-and-egg problem here – if the market waits for the infrastructure before implementing low carbon technologies, the infrastructure may never come. At Nu:ionic, we are striving to make sensible options available to industry today, allowing companies to take meaningful steps toward decarbonization TODAY.
Nu:ionic Teal Hydrogen for Decarbonization of Industrial Fuel Gas
According to the Hydrogen Council, “hydrogen will be the only viable option to decarbonize” many processes and predicts that by 2050, hydrogen could meet 12% of final industrial energy demand (16 EJ), providing up to 23% of high-grade heat, 8% of medium-grade heat, and 4% of low-grade heat.
However, the path to net zero will require taking significant steps in the near term - the IEA’s Net Zero Emissions by 2050 requires industry emissions to fall 2.3% annually through 2030. In talking with industry there is a growing sense of urgency to start down this path, and many corporations have set aggressive targets for emissions reductions over the next 10 – 15 years that are meaningful gestures toward achieving net zero objectives.
Nu:ionic’s modular fuel gas decarbonization technology can be implemented on existing infrastructure and “behind-the-meter”, allowing for cost-effective conversion of fuel gas to low carbon hydrogen which can be blended into the fuel gas network. This allows companies to scale into decarbonization in a pragmatic and cost-effective manner. Our solution have the following key features:
- Enables use of existing fired heating equipment, in many cases without the need for any modification for a wide range of fuel gas blends.
- Makes efficient use of electricity for decarbonizing natural gas / fuel gas, without impacting the natural gas consumption. Each 1 MW of electricity decarbonizes 2.5 MW of fired heater fuel.
- Captures high purity CO2 as by-product prior to combustion for sequestration or re-use.
Talk to us today to help you for fuel gas systems ranging in capacity from 1.5MW (130 GJ/day) up to 50 MW (4,320 GJ/day) in fired duty. Nu:ionic’s teal hydrogen technology utilizes the company’s proprietary microwave catalytic reforming, and when installed behind-the-meter on fuel gas is scalable to meet hydrogen fuel demand as it evolves. The modular system allows you to evaluate hydrogen firing and then expand production as the plant expands or equipment is retrofitted to burn higher percentages of hydrogen.
Nu:ionic’s teal hydrogen production delivers on both the economic and the ESG balance sheets. The modular approach enables every industrial plant to advance along the path to net zero with minimal disruption to their operations.
Concerned about the impact of switching fired heaters to burning predominantly hydrogen? We have partnered with the world's leading fired heater industry experts who can help with burner and fired heater re-rating, as well as implementation of hydrogen fuel gas systems.
Nu:ionic Electrical Process Heaters
A study of German industry was conducted in 2017 to look at the technical feasibility of using electricity for process heat, primarily for steam generation. To date, the technical feasibility of electrifying high temperature process heating has been limited, especially when heating in the gas phase. However, Nu:ionic is developing compact and highly efficient electric gas heaters at multiple megawatt duty rating that allows for direct electrification of process heating. These heaters enable precise gas temperature control, offer very fast response to changes in load and produce heat at temperatures up to 1,200 deg C. When operated as supplemental heating to existing fired heaters, electrical heaters can be configured to make use of excess renewable electrical energy at off-peak hours, which provide an off-set to polluting fossil fuel used in fired heaters.
Get in touch today to discuss your application, and whether our compact electrical heaters could be a fit for your process!
The averaged cost of electricity remains a barrier to widespread adoption of the displacement of natural gas as fired heater fuel, and is expected to remain at a premium to that of natural gas. For example, since there is 3.6 GJ in a MWh, at a natural gas cost of $4/GJ, electricity pricing needs to be at $15/MWh to be at parity with natural gas. And in spite of its fossil fuel roots, natural gas remains one of the cleanest burning fuels we have. Even when incorporating the cost of carbon emissions at $200/ton CO2e, this cost only adds approximately $43/MWh of cost to the above equation. I.e., low carbon, renewable electricity pricing, delivered at the industrial site, will need to be sustainably below $58/MWh to compete with the cost of natural gas for heating and enable large scale adoption of direct electrification for process heating.
Industrial and commercial heating are large emission sources in the industry. At Nu:ionic, we are working hard to develop meaningful solutions with technology that lowers the barriers for early adoption of low carbon technologies, and with proper consideration for project and operating cost.
Talk to us today to learn more about our solutions and how we can help you on a path toward net zero.
 The emission factor from E&P of natural gas is 9.5 kg CO2e / GJ + 49.9 kg CO2e/GJ at combustion = 59.3 kg CO2e / GJ. At $200/ton CO2e, that’s $11.86 / GJ, or $43 / MWh.