U.S. Department of Energy Waste Heat to Power (WHP) Market Assessment Describes Potential for 14,594 MW of Additional WHP Projects at Over 2,900 Industrial Sites Across the U.S.

Over 4,000 MW of Projects with Paybacks of 3 Years or Less Highlights the Immediate Opportunity to Provide Substantial Economic and Environmental Benefits Across a Wide Range of Industries

The Heat is Power Association is pleased the long awaited Waste Heat to Power Market Assessment, prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory by ICF International, has been released and is available to all WHP stakeholders and the general public. The report provides a comprehensive look at the industrial sources of waste heat across a wide variety of industrial sectors and processes in the U.S. Importantly, it is the first major independent report to assess the opportunity to deploy WHP technologies from both high temperature and lower temperature waste heat streams.

Some of the key highlights from the report include:

  • Over 14,500 MW of technical potential at over 2,900 sites
  • Over 4,000 MW of projects with a payback of three years or less
  • 3,500 MW of potential in the petroleum refining sector, nearly 1,500 MW of which could be cost effectively implemented today
  • 3,160 MW of potential opportunities in Texas, California and Louisiana alone, over 1,100 MW of which could be cost effectively implemented today

WHP potential is provided by industrial sector and by state. The report used available waste heat data from two prior DOE reports that looked at twenty-one manufacturing sectors. The authors then assessed the technical and economic potential for converting the available waste heat to electricity taking into account the costs and capabilities of available WHP technologies and the costs of electricity to industrial customers in each state.

The report will be particularly useful for helping stakeholders zero in on WHP opportunities by state. While the ICF analysis did not account for state-specific incentives for WHP, the Heat is Power Association tracks these incentives for its members and has identified 19 states that include WHP in their renewable energy or energy efficiency portfolio standards. For example, the DOE report identifies 763 MW of technical potential in California across 137 sites. The California Self-Generation Incentive Program provides financial incentives of $1.13/watt for projects that produce electricity from waste heat capture technologies.

John Prunkl, Chairman of the Heat is Power Association and President and CEO of Primary Energy Recycling Corporation said, “this DOE report is a very important contribution to the library of resources that have been steadily building to support this growing segment of the power generation sector. The report further validates the important role that WHP projects will play in producing electricity economically and with no incremental emissions. Our U.S. industrial sectors with substantial waste heat resources should take note that they can take steps right now to lower their electric costs and improve their environmental footprint.”

One unique element of the report is the assessment of WHP opportunities from lower temperature waste heat resources.  In fact, over 35% of the technical potential from the manufacturing sector identified in the report is from heat resources below 450° F. Michael Newell, a member of the Heat is Power Board of Directors and President of Ener-G-Rotors said, “while the report is certainly incomplete in characterizing the breadth of the market for smaller, low temperature WHP technologies, it is great to see ICF and the DOE take this first step to include these increasingly cost effective technologies in addition to the more mature counterparts typically used for high temperature waste streams. There are many companies actively working to reduce the cost and improve the effectiveness of technologies for converting low temperature waste heat into power that can be used on site at industrial and commercial sites. We look forward to working with DOE and other stakeholders to improve the quality and quantity of independent analysis that shows what is truly possible with lower temperature waste heat resources.”

The report also corroborates several of the key messages of the Heat is Power Association as they relate to the barriers to broader deployment of WHP and the incentives that have been proffered by a number of forward-looking states. Susan Brodie, Executive Director of the Heat is Power Association said, “the DOE report speaks to a number of well known technical, economic, business and regulatory barriers to the broader deployment of WHP projects.  While the industry is already busy working to reduce the costs to manufacture and deploy WHP technologies, all stakeholders need to continue to work together to ensure that electricity from industrial waste heat is treated like other power generation resources that produce no incremental emissions. While the states are way out front with regard to rewarding WHP projects for the environmental attributes they provide, our federal energy and tax policy continues to lag the states in providing incentives for these types of projects.”  In 2015, a number of efforts by Congressional supporters to provide electricity from WHP with the same tax treatment as that of other resources like wind, biomass, fuel cells, and even combined heat and power, are gaining momentum.  “We will continue to work with an array of stakeholders to push for equal treatment of WHP in this Congress,” said Brodie.

The Association is eager to work with federal, regional and state regulators, industry associations that represent the owners of waste heat resources, environmental organizations and energy efficiency advocates that are interested in building off this report to launch specific efforts to increase the deployment of WHP projects. A complete copy of the report can be found at this link.

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