Renewable Thermal Energy Systems Designed for Industrial Process Solutions in Multiple Industries

Research output: NRELPresentation


Industrial decarbonization is a key area that must be accelerated, to foster the removal of fossil fuels from the provision of heat, especially at low temperatures less than 300 degrees C. This paper looks at the results of two case studies for understanding the economics and potential for renewable thermal energy systems (RTES), particularly in hybrid configurations to provide industrial process heat (IPH). The first case study looks at heat pumps for district heating, and the second, the use of linear Fresnel collectors (LFCs) coupled with phase change material (PCM) thermal energy storage (TES) for direct steam generation (DSG). Using district heat as an input for the heat pump, three cases were run harvesting energy from ambient water (5 degrees C), sewage water (20 degrees C), and a solar collector (35 degrees C). Accounting for elevated costs of infrastructure for each heat source, the levelized cost of heat (LCOH) of the first case study ranged from $4-$15 per million British Thermal Units (MMBTU). For the second case study modeling LFCs with PCM and TES, the results show that a LCOH of $9-$15 per MMBTU is possible, depending on the direct normal irradiance.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages25
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NamePresented at the Solar World Congress 2021, 25-29 October 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-7A40-81146


  • concentrated solar thermal
  • direct steam generation
  • heat pumps
  • industrial decarbonization
  • LCOH
  • renewable thermal energy systems
  • solar industrial process heat
  • techno-economic analysis


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