CHPA Submits Comments on Industrial Decarbonization

Jul 1, 2024


July 1, 2024 — Last week, the Combined Heat and Power Alliance submitted comments to the Department of Energy’s Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office (IEDO) in response to its Request for Information (RFI) for its upcoming vision studying, “Pathways for U.S. Industrial Transformations: Unlocking American Innovation.” 

Currently, the industrial sector uses high-emitting fuels for electricity and heat production, but DOE highlights a growing movement towards cleaner alternatives such as Low-Carbon Fuels, Feedstocks, Energy Sources (LCFFES) and natural gas with Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS). Both of these decarbonization solutions can be used in concert with combined heat and power, leveraging CHP’s high levels of efficiency to further reduce emissions. 

In our comments, we underscore the need for structured guidance from DOE to develop a decarbonization pathway for combustion. Some key points in CHPA’s comments include,

  • Combined Heat and Power at the Center of the Combustion Pathway: Prioritizing Combined Heat and Power (CHP) and Waste Heat to Power (WHP) deployment across industrial sectors will maximize carbon emissions reductions and operational efficiencies. CHP systems are the most efficient way to use alternative fuels, requiring less fuel input for the same energy outputs, and WHP uses waste heat from industrial processes to generate electricity with no added fuel and no incremental emissions.
  • Rapid Deployment of Natural Gas-Fired CHP: Action is needed to install new natural gas-fired CHP units at industrial sites. Units installed through 2035 and operating through 2050 are expected to cause a net reduction in carbon emissions by reducing the demand for marginal grid resources. New natural gas-fired CHP can reduce emissions across the country immediately. 
  • Conversion of Existing Industrial CHP Units to LCCFES and CCUS: Transitioning existing CHP units to cleaner fuels, or adding emissions-reducing retrofits to CHP, will accelerate the decarbonization of industrial combustion processes while ensuring economic viability. DOE’s analysis should examine converting the 1,145 existing industrial CHP units to clean hydrogen or CCUS as these technologies become available.
  • Use CHP in New LCFFES and CCUS When Possible: As LCFFES and CCUS become more accessible for industrial use, DOE should actively promote combustion in Combined Heat and Power (CHP) units wherever feasible. It’s crucial for DOE to analyze and forecast the scalability of these technologies, outlining their availability timelines to effectively guide manufacturers.

A copy of our comments to DOE can be found here.