The future of heating: meeting the challenge, (March 2013), set out the government’s view of the likely routes open to the UK to deliver the decarbonisation of our heat supply. The document stated that for the UK to reduce its carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 (compared to 1990 levels), then UK industry would need to reduce its emissions by 70% by 2050. The document also highlighted the possible potential for recovering ‘waste’ industrial heat from heat intensive industries which could be used to supply a range of energy demands, from district heating networks to electricity generation.
Although there are existing evidence sources that suggest recoverable ‘waste’ heat from industry in the UK ranges from 10-40TWh/year, we wanted to develop a more robust evidence base. In June 2013, we commissioned Element Energy, Ecofys and Imperial College Consultants to undertake research to assess the technical and economic potential of recovered waste industrial heat from within the 8 most heat intensive sectors (oil refining, iron and steel, food and drink, pulp and paper, chemicals, glass, cement and ceramics) as well as the power generating sector. The aim of the study was to quantify the contribution towards the 2050 target that could be technically and economically achieved through the recovery of waste heat and the use of this heat to supply low carbon energy within the UK energy system. The final report and technical appendix identified 48 TWh/yr of industrial waste heat sources across the 8 heat intensive sectors. The technical potential of this waste heat was identified as 11 TWh/yr with an economic potential of 8 TWh/yr. The study also identified commercially viable heat recovery options in all 8 of the sectors.