RTC Members and Solutions Providers Receive DOE Funding to Develop Heat Pump, Heat Recovery, and Low-Carbon Fuel Technology

By Oren Lieber-Kotz

The Renewable Thermal Collaborative (RTC) congratulates our Members and Solutions Providers that were recently awarded funding for industrial decarbonization projects by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office (IEDO). The announcement listed RTC Members PepsiCo and the University of California, and RTC Solutions Providers SoCalGas and Southern Company, among the recipients of awards totaling $135 million and spread over 40 projects.

This funding will develop technologies to decarbonize five sectors: chemicals, iron and steel, food and beverage, cement and concrete, and forest and paper products. A sixth bucket of funding supports technologies applicable across sectors. The awards contribute to DOE’s Industrial Decarbonization Roadmap and will help drive a clean energy transition that strengthens the U.S. industrial sector.

The awards will support R&D across a range of critical renewable thermal solutions. RTC Members and Solutions Providers will receive funding for the following projects:

  • PepsiCo will contribute to a project receiving $3M to develop high-performance heat pumps for food drying.
  • Southern Company will be part of a team, led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, receiving $5M to build a heat pump capable of producing a sink temperature of 200°.
  • SoCalGas will partner with West Virginia University and others to receive $3M to develop a fuel-flexible boiler capable of burning hydrogen, biogas, and other low-carbon fuels.
  • The University of California and two partners will use $1.6M to research a widely applicable, low-temperature heat recovery system.

These technologies, and IEDO’s allocation of resources towards them, align with the RTC’s vision for cutting U.S. industrial thermal emissions 30% by 2030 and fully decarbonizing industry by 2050. The Renewable Thermal Vision Report found that 43% of emissions from industrial heat use result from low-temperature processes, presenting an opportunity to reduce these emissions by deploying heat pumps at low or negative cost in the near term, especially in the food and beverage sector. Our Green Hydrogen Technology Assessment showcased green hydrogen’s critical role in decarbonizing higher-temperature processes in the steel, chemicals, and cement sectors. The RTC supports thermal efficiency measures like heat recovery as a key enabler of any renewable thermal technology and will host a webinar on June 29 highlighting this opportunity.

By advancing the capabilities of key technologies including heat pumps, thermal efficiency, and low-carbon fuels, RTC Members and Solutions Providers are leading the way toward U.S. climate and economic goals.