Heat pumps can help to decarbonize Europe

Switch to heat pumps, Norway!

Switching to heat pumps in industrial processes makes sense both from an economic and environmental perspective, said Tor Hodne, CEO of Viking Heat Engines, at a recent conference in Norway.

Viking Heat Engines was one of few companies asked to present its technology at the Enova conference held in Trondheim, Norway, from 29-30 January. Under the heading "The necessary changes”, the two-day event focused on what Norway does in order to become a low-carbon society by 2050, and as part of this several solutions were presented, one of which was the HeatBooster.

“Solar and wind power are absolutely necessary for the green shift but, in order to reduce CO2 emissions quickly, we also need to address the industrial heat processes,” said Hodne. “And in this context, waste heat represents 'the hidden, and often forgotten, jewel', especially in combination with industrial heat pumps, such as our HeatBooster.”

Easily explained, the HeatBooster takes three parts of waste heat from, for example, an industrial process and adds one part electricity (preferably from a renewable energy source) to lift the heat up to the necessary temperatures (from 60 to 160 degrees Celsius).

“Similar to the heat pump in your home, it only consumes a small amount of electricity,” said Hodne.

By installing the HeatBooster, companies not only stand to save a lot in energy costs but also make considerably reductions in terms of CO2 emissions and related taxes.

At Wienerberger, the world’s largest brick manufacturer, Viking has the potential to save up to 1 million tonnes of CO2 per year, which equals the annual CO2 emissions from all domestic air traffic in Norway.

“With a payback time of only 1 ½ years, I think it’s safe to say that this is quite a good investment,” Hodne said.

Hodne gave examples of other industries that have shown an interest in the HeatBooster, one of which is the sugar industry.

“Last week, we signed an agreement for a pilot installation in a factory to one of the world's largest sugar producers in Germany,” he said. “In this factory, they still burn brown coal to produce heat for their cooking process. By installing the HeatBooster, they can reuse the waste heat from that process, have a payback period of two to three years and save 335,000 tonnes of CO2.”

With 50% of the energy in Europe currently going to heating and cooling processes and 84% of this being produced using fossil fuels, it makes sense to start looking for carbon-friendly solutions such as the HeatBooster.

“Twenty years ago, almost no one in this country had ever heard of heat pumps,” Hodne said. “Today, there are 1.1 million heat pumps installed in Norwegian homes. In other words, we have seen an incredible development in this market, and why? Well, simply because heat pumps are cheaper and more environmentally friendly than the alternatives. Heat pumps just makes sense to most of us.”

Now, Viking is hoping that the industrial sector will come to the same realization.

To listen to Tor's speech at the Enova conference, click here.

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