ARENA, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, has committed $460,500 in funding to the Australian Alliance for Energy Productivity (A2EP) to investigate opportunities for using renewables in process heating in manufacturing.
With process heating accounting for the largest share of onsite energy use in Australian manufacturing, low-temperature processes offer the greatest opportunity for displacing fossil fuelled heat with renewably powered alternatives.
The $900,500 project has undertaken ten pre-feasibility studies at sites across Tasmania, South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales, and five of these sites are to be chosen to progress to a full feasibility study.
Three companies already confirmed for full feasibility are: McCain in Ballarat, Simplot in Devonport, and Lion in Adelaide.
The sites will test commercially available technologies not widely used in Australia that have significant potential to optimise the application of process heat in manufacturing, while increasing the uptake of renewable energy.
These technologies include heat pumps powered by renewable electricity and direct renewable heating options including biomass and biogas and associated storage.
A full feasibility study and business case for all five sites will be complete by the end of 2019. If proven to be feasible, the projects will be eligible for further ARENA grant funding.
According to ARENA CEO Darren Miller: “A2EP’s project aligns with what ARENA is aiming to achieve through its new investment priority in helping industry to reduce emissions by supplying case studies which can be replicated more widely.
“There is significant potential to increase the application of renewable energy for process heating in manufacturing. By switching to renewable energy technologies, industries such as food and beverage processing can significantly reduce their reliance on traditional forms of energy and save money on their operating costs, thereby encouraging more companies to adopt this approach,” he concluded.
A2EP CEO Jonathan Jutsen added: “Australia lags behind other economies in deployment of process heat technologies that are innovative but proven. There is great potential to be smarter about process heat.
“We waste a great deal of energy and we don’t take advantage of cost-effective renewables. There are literally thousands of businesses that could benefit from these ideas.
“With the support of ARENA, this feasibility work will identify opportunities for manufacturing businesses across Australia to transition to cost-effective renewable energy solutions tailored to their businesses that will reduce their emissions and energy costs,” Jutsen concluded.