Andrew Pimm, Tim Cockerill and William Gale
Decarbonising industry while maintaining economic competitiveness and improving living standards is one of the main challenges of reaching net zero targets, and low-carbon process heating will play a key role in this. In this work we investigate the potential to reduce the energy demands of hydrogen-based industrial heating systems using very high temperature reverse Joule-Brayton cycle heat pumps as preheaters, considering their economics and technical challenges. A thermodynamic process model is used to assess performance at temperatures of 300–500 °C, and cost optimisation is used to conduct cost-benefit analysis of preheating green hydrogen using heat pumps. It is found that over this temperature range, heat pump coefficient of performance lies in the range 1.4–1.7, with the turbine meeting 30–40% of the compressor load. At the electricity prices currently paid by heavy industry in Western Europe, levelised cost of heat from these heat pumps would be less than 4.5p/kWh. Using 500 °C heat pumps as preheaters in hydrogen heating systems could reduce hydrogen demands by over 20% and provide savings on the cost of green hydrogen of at least 8% out to 2050. With process heat accounting for three-quarters of industrial energy use and half of this being at temperatures above 400 °C, these savings are significant and suggest that very high temperature heat pumps could make an important contribution to industrial decarbonisation.
Pimm, A.J., Cockerill, T.T. and Gale, W.F. 2023. Reducing industrial hydrogen demand through preheating with very high temperature heat pumps. Applied Energy, 347: 121464. doi: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2023.121464Opens in a new tabOpen access
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