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US Energy: DOE Launches New Energy Earthshot To Cut Industrial Heating Emissions By 85 Percent

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced the launch of the Industrial Heat Shot™, a new effort aimed at dramatically reducing the cost, energy use, and carbon emissions associated with the heat used to make everything from food to cement and steel. The latest DOE Energy Earthshots Initiative™, the Industrial Heat Shot ™ seeks to develop cost-competitive solutions for industrial heat with at least 85% lower greenhouse gas emissions by 2035. If this target is achieved, the American industrial sector will be on course to reduce its carbon equivalent emissions by 575 million metric tons by 2050, roughly equal to the annual emissions generated by all passenger cars currently on the road. The Industrial Heat Shot™ will help decarbonize the energy sector and help reach the Biden Administration’s goal of a net-zero emissions economy by 2050.

“Today, heavy industries that produce products such as cement and steel account for 30% of carbon polluting emissions. For the sake of our health and the health of the planet, we must slash carbon pollution from the industrial sector,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “The launch of DOE’s Industrial Heat Shot is an ambitious effort to leverage innovation and U.S. scientific leadership to cut emissions from this sector by 85%—providing cleaner air for Americans, fighting the climate crisis, and pushing forth clean energy breakthroughs.”

In 2020, the industrial sector accounted for 33% of the nation’s primary energy use and 30% of energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The industrial sector is uniquely difficult to decarbonize, due in part to the diversity of energy sources powering its vast array of industrial processes and operations. Much of that energy demand is used for a variety of thermal operations in manufacturing.

“Industrial heating processes” refer to the many methods by which heat transforms materials into useful products. Heat is pervasive in manufacturing—it is used to remove moisture, create steam, separate chemicals, treat metals, melt plastics, and much more. Industrial heat accounts for about 9% of the entire U.S. emissions footprint. The Industrial Heat Shot will have the additional impact of reducing air pollution associated with burning fossil fuels that will improve the health of communities living in proximity to manufacturing facilities.

The Industrial Heat Shot ™ has three key pathways to its target: 

Electrify heating operations: Electrify equipment, use clean electricity, and improve energy efficiency​ through technologies such as resistive heating, heat pumps, and microwave systems.
Integrate low-emissions heat sources: Transition to low-emission heat sources, such as geothermal energy, concentrated solar power, or nuclear energy, and increase thermal storage.
Innovate low- or no-heat process technologies: Develop new chemistry and emerging biotechnology processes to reduce heat demand such as bio-based manufacturing, electrolysis, ultraviolet curing, and advanced separations.  
The Industrial Heat Shot™ will support the overarching strategy detailed in DOE’s “Industrial Decarbonization Roadmap.” The Roadmap emphasizes the urgency of deep decarbonization across the industrial sector and presents a staged research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) agenda for industry and government that will deliver the technologies needed to dramatically reduce emissions, increase American manufacturing competitiveness, and create high-quality jobs.

In addition to the Industrial Heat Shot™, DOE will continue to pursue other RD&D work, as outlined in the Roadmap, such as advancing point source carbon capture, switching to cleaner fuels and feedstocks, adopting electric efficiency enhancements. Work in the Industrial Heat Shot™ will leverage investments across multiple DOE offices and build upon the unprecedented investments in industrial and manufacturing technology from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act.

In the coming months, DOE will issue solicitations for public feedback on the execution of the Industrial Heat Shot.™ DOE will also host a webinar to provide more information on opportunities for collaboration and information-sharing. DOE will continue to partner with other Federal Agencies such as the National Science Foundation to advance the state of the art for manufacturing and develop the workforce needed to support the clean energy transition.

As part of DOE’s commitment to building a decarbonized industrial sector of the future, the U.S. is joining the Industrial Deep Decarbonization Initiative. Coordinated by UNIDO, this Clean Energy Ministerial global coalition is designed to stimulate demand for low-carbon industrial technologies.

The Industrial Heat Shot™ is an all-hands-on-deck effort across DOE to address the critical technical barriers to the development and widespread implementation of the cost-competitive, innovative technologies we need to fully decarbonize our economy and overcome the climate crisis.

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