On September 21, 2022, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) announced its latest Energy Earthshot—the Industrial Heat Shot—a new effort aimed at dramatically reducing the cost, energy use, and carbon emissions associated with the heat used to make everything from food to cement and steel and seeking to develop cost-competitive solutions for industrial heat with at least 85 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions by 2035. According to the DOE, in 2020, the industrial sector accounted for 33 percent of the nation’s primary energy use and 30 percent of energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The DOE also noted that the industrial sector is uniquely difficult to decarbonize due in part to the diversity of energy sources powering its vast array of industrial processes and operations. Much of that energy demand is used for a variety of thermal operations in manufacturing.

The Industrial Heat Shot has three key pathways to its target: 

  • Electrify heating operations: Electrify equipment, use clean electricity, and improve energy efficiency through technologies such as resistive heating, heat pumps, and microwave systems.
  • Integrate low-emissions heat sources: Transition to low-emission heat sources such as geothermal energy, concentrated solar power, or nuclear energy and increase thermal storage.
  • Innovate low- or no-heat process technologies: Develop new chemistry and emerging biotechnology processes to reduce heat demand such as bio-based manufacturing, electrolysis, ultraviolet curing, and advanced separations.

If this target is achieved, the American industrial sector will be on course to reduce its carbon equivalent emissions by 575 million metric tons by 2050, roughly equal to the annual emissions generated by all passenger cars currently on the road.

The Industrial Heat Shot will support the DOE’s Industrial Decarbonization Roadmap released on September 7, 2022. This roadmap focuses on five energy-intensive sectors where industrial decarbonization efforts can have the greatest impact and outlines four pathways to reduce emissions across these critical sectors. These key sectors—iron and steel; cement and concrete; food and beverage; chemical manufacturing; and petroleum refining—account for over 50 percent of the energy-related CO2 emissions in the industrial sector. The four pathways under the roadmap include:

  • Energy efficiency: The most cost-effective options for near-term reductions of greenhouse gas emission include smart manufacturing and advanced data analytics to increase energy productivity in manufacturing processes.
  • Industrial electrification: Leveraging advancements in low-carbon electricity from both grid and onsite renewable generation sources will be critical to decarbonization efforts. Examples include electrification of process heat using induction or heat pumps.
  • Low carbon fuels, feedstocks, and energy sources (LCFFES): LCFFES efforts involve substituting low- and no-carbon fuel and feedstocks, including using green hydrogen, biofuels, and bio feedstocks.
  • Carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS): CCUS decarbonization efforts include permanent geologic storage as well as developing processes to use captured CO2 to manufacture new materials.

The related funding opportunity announcement provides more details and application requirements. Concept papers are due by October 12, 2022, and applications by December 20, 2022.