Opportunities for Solar Industrial Process Heat in the United States

Colin McMillan, Carrie Schoeneberger, Parthiv Kurup, Jingyi Zhang

Research output: NRELPresentation


This presentation summarizes the first national analysis of opportunities for solar technologies to provide industrial process heat (IPH) in the United States. The industrial sector is a major end-user of energy and IPH constitutes a majority of industrial fuel energy. New disaggregations of IPH demands are made at the temporal, geographic, and operational levels. Solar heat generation by seven solar thermal technologies and PV-connected electrotechnologies are modeled using county solar resources and land availability and matched to relevant IPH demands. Parabolic trough collectors (PTC), when combined with thermal energy storage (TES), not only have the largest opportunity in terms of distribution over geography and time, but also in terms of applicable IPH demands. PTC with TES represents the displacement of nearly 2,500 trillion Btus of combustion fuels, which corresponds to 137 million metric tons of CO2, or about 15% of all industrial combustion CO2 emissions. TES, along with site-level analysis, are identified as areas of further analysis.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages54
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NamePresented at the Opportunities for Solar Industrial Process Heat in the United States Webinar, 3 February 2021

Bibliographical note

See NREL/TP-6A20-77760 for related technical report

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-6A20-79083


  • electrification
  • industry
  • process heat
  • solar thermal


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