At four times the cost of heat electrification will not decarbonize industrial processes anytime soon
- Nov 17, 2020 2:45 pm GMT
Legislators, investors, and journalists seem to believe that we can decarbonize the world through electrification. While it's possible to electrify most (land) mobility and low-temperature heat generation, there's no plausible profitable path to replace burning fossil fuels with renewable power production since the cost of electricity on average is 4.4 times the cost of heat.
The only option for electrification of heat is to use heat pumps with efficiencies (aka COP) sufficiently high to offset both the difference in the cost of electricity vs the cost of heat and the cost of buying, installing, and maintaining the heat pumps. However, as the price of heat pumps increases with increased COP and temperature ranges, this option is limited to processes where temperatures are lifted 30⁰C-40⁰C to max output temperatures of 80⁰C-90⁰C.
Solutions capable of reaching 220⁰C can target industrial processes consuming 10% of global energy demand. Several solar heat solutions are already today able to produce sustainable scalable heat at this temperature level. Great opportunities, potential, and impact may be realized the day legislators, investors, and journalists start understanding this.
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