Solar for Industrial Process Heat Analysis
NREL is developing the first national analysis of the potential for solar technologies to power a wide array of manufacturing applications.
By developing data sets, tools, and analyses on the integration of solar and manufacturing IPH at both the process and country levels, NREL will enable strategic decision making around this largely unexplored opportunity for solar energy expansion.
In the United States, manufacturing IPH is currently dominated by natural gas and coal combustion, a trend that has remained relatively unchanged for several decades.
In fact, fossil fuels provided 90% of reported manufacturing process heat energy in 2014 and 92% in 1992.
Industrial process heat is a significant energy draw in the United States, constituting 7% of all U.S. primary energy use, which amounts to approximately 20% of all residential- and commercial-sector energy use combined.
As low-cost solar technologies continue to evolve and emerge, NREL aggregates and advances data and performs analysis around how renewable sources might supply the heat that industry needs to do business, now and in the years ahead.
Related Publications and Resources
The Industry Energy Tool (IET): Documentation, NREL Technical Report (2019)
Generation and Use of Thermal Energy in the U.S. Industrial Sector and Opportunities to Reduce Its Carbon Emissions, NREL Technical Report (2016)
Initial Investigation into the Potential of CSP Industrial Process Heat for the Southwest United States, NREL Technical Report (2015)
Solar Process Heat Basics on NREL.gov
Solar Industrial Process Heat in the News
Industry’s Hunger for Heat Drives Energy Demand, JISEA.org (August 2019)