Energy as a Service (EaaS) is joined by Heat as a Service (HaaS): The increasing climate change and corporate ESG goals are calling for innovative measures to design energy and heat consumption as economically efficient and as climate-neutral as possible. In this context, contract models that make heat supply more flexible are coming into focus. So are sustainable energy storage solutions that take advantage of the time-shifted feed-in and output of electricity and heat – and thus significantly advance the electrification of energy-intensive production processes.
Sustainable heat supply: Process heat must become climate-neutral
While many companies have already made good progress in decarbonizing their energy consumption in recent years and obtain a large proportion of their electricity from renewable energy sources, the decarbonization of heat is often lagging behind. And yet heat – in the form of heating or air conditioning, for refrigeration, hot water and process heat – accounts for a major part of Europe’s energy consumption.
While the provision of energy from geothermal and environmental heat in the industrial sector grew significantly last year – as did the use of heat from solar thermal systems – there is still a lot of room for improvement. According to Fraunhofer Institute, only a small percentage of industrial process heat is currently covered by renewable energies. Moreover, to this day, electricity in general is underrepresented in industrial processes.
Heat transition in an industrial context: HaaS as a sustainable alternative to conventional heat supply
In order to obtain the required process heat in a more climate-neutral way as part of the sustainability and efficiency efforts, Heat as a Service, i.e. the flexible procurement of regeneratively produced heat, has emerged as extremely attractive. Economically, companies benefit from low or even non-existent investment costs, as those are borne entirely by the provider.
Further, Heat as a Service enables many industrial companies to introduce renewable process heat solutions more quickly by drawing not only on the infrastructure but also on the expertise of the providing energy service company. The latter is responsible for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the solution. Existing expertise in new energy technologies and evolving energy markets can ensure that the heat generation facility is optimally designed and managed throughout the contract period. With Heat as a Service solutions based on renewable energy, companies can thus drive the decarbonization of their processes – while at the same time ensuring the reliability and flexibility of their heat supply.
The possibilities of ENERGYNEST’s ThermalBattery™ for a flexible heat supply
Another attractive solution offering flexible heat supply for industrial companies are thermal energy storage systems such as ENERGYNEST’s ThermalBattery™. With the thermal storage system, which ENERGYNEST provides as a complete service upon request, energy producers and industrial consumers can use energy and large quantities of heat, steam or electricity efficiently and maximize their value.
Many industrial companies require significant amounts of heat for their production processes – often in the form of steam. Temperatures are high. And yet, due to the volatility of wind and solar energy, there is not always enough renewable energy available for the large demand of industrial companies. Here, heat storage systems enable a flexible feed-in of green energy as well as a delayed release of the heat.
Flexible charging and discharging of ThermalBattery™ maximizes thermal efficiency
For this purpose, electricity from renewable energies is stored inside the ThermalBattery™ – a solid-state high-temperature thermal energy storage system – at off-peak times. Subsequently, it is converted into high-quality process heat or steam and released as required. Thermal oil or steam is used as the heat transfer fluid in this process. Storage takes place within high-performance thermal concrete at up to 450 degrees Celsius.
Depending on the contract model, ENERGYNEST’s ThermalBattery™ can be purchased on a modular basis or as a “complete package” including provision, maintenance and service. Whether individual modules or a “complete turnkey system” are desired, is decided by the customer depending on requirements and specifications.
Low initial investment for sustainable heat through Operational Expenditure (OpEx)
With the complete package, ENERGYNEST bears the full investment costs (CAPEX) and takes care of the integration of the storage solution into existing plants and processes. Further, the provider guarantees the performance during the contract period. The company that chooses ThermalBattery™ as a complete turnkey solution essentially long-term finances the investment through its operating costs (OPEX). By making heat procurement more flexible, companies thus benefit directly from operational cost savings and at the same time they can use the freed-up capital for other business investments.
Heat demand: Flexibilization will prevail
It is highly likely that over time, HaaS offerings and flexible, modular thermal storage solutions like ENERGYNEST’s ThermalBattery™ will become more prevalent due to their multiple benefits.
Depending on how quickly companies can set up internal capacities for the procurement of corresponding solutions and establish partnerships with preferred providers, development times and implementation efforts will be significantly reduced. Likewise, the providing companies will be able to better adapt to the needs of customers, leading to significantly higher efficiency and economies of scale – a win-win situation for all parties involved.
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