New Report Highlights Pathways to Decarbonizing Heat in the Food and Beverage Sector

For Immediate Release
August 8, 2023 12:00 pm ET

New Report Highlights Pathways to Decarbonizing Heat in the Food and Beverage Sector

Renewable Thermal Collaborative Provides Recommendations for Corporate Energy Buyers and Other Stakeholders to Reduce Emissions in a Key Industrial Sector

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Industrial heat pumps can be effectively deployed in a variety of common food and beverage manufacturing processes and lead to higher efficiencies and potential cost savings according to the Playbook for Decarbonizing Process Heat in the Food & Beverage Sector released today by the Renewable Thermal Collaborative (RTC). In the United States, food and beverage processing and manufacturing produces more emissions from industrial heat use than any sector other than refineries, chemicals, or iron and steel. Because the F&B sector’s thermal energy usage is almost exclusively low-temperature processes, the sector has unique opportunities to decarbonize – using industrial heat pumps, electric boilers, and renewable electricity – in the near term. Successful deployment of these technologies will require collective action and collaboration from energy buyers in the food and beverage industry, industry associations and coalitions, and policymakers.

“RTC Members include leading U.S. food and beverage companies committed to decarbonizing their manufacturing – including thermal energy use – to help meet critical climate goals,” remarked Blaine Collison, RTC Executive Director. “This new playbook will help accelerate decarbonization in the food and beverage sector by providing both corporate energy buyers and policymakers with concrete recommendations for making the switch to industrial heat pumps and other technologies.”

The Playbook for Decarbonizing Process Heat in the Food & Beverage Sector provides a hands-on guide for industrial heat pump implementation as an enabler for food and beverage sector decarbonization. The report includes an overview of the market and policy landscape for decarbonization at the federal level and at the state-level for California, Illinois and Iowa. These three states collectively generate more than 26 million tons of carbon dioxide annually—over 28% of the national total from this sector. Environmental policies that apply to food and beverage manufacturers vary greatly among states, with more stringent regulations associated with lower GHG emissions.

The Playbook:

  • Assesses major technology, market, and policy barriers facing the adoption of heat pumps and electric boilers.
  • Provides a set of concrete, actionable recommendations corporate energy buyers can implement to switch to industrial heat pumps and electric boilers at their facilities, reduce emissions, and realize a cleaner energy supply.
  • Describes priority actions that other stakeholders can take to support deployments of industrial heat pumps and electric boilers for the decarbonization of the sector’s process heat.

“Scaling industrial heat pumps and electric boilers to decarbonize operations requires aligning technical considerations and actions with market and policy conditions,” said Cihang Yuan, WWF Climate and Energy Senior Program Officer and a lead author of the playbook. “When corporate energy buyers, solutions providers, and policymakers collaborate to address this challenge, the results are significant. The playbook will empower key stakeholders to reach decarbonization targets by working collectively to overcome technology, market, and policy barriers to industrial heat pump adoption and deployment.”

The RTC’s Vision Report estimates that the food and beverage sector can phase out coal and petroleum by 2030 and natural gas by 2035. By 2050, electrification will be able to provide more than 85% of the process heat in the sector, most of which will be supplied by industrial heat pumps. The Playbook for Decarbonizing Process Heat in the Food & Beverage Sector builds on the knowledge base established by the Vision Report by providing practical steps and recommendations for tackling barriers and emphasizing policy interventions that can help drive rapid adoption of emerging technologies.

Download the Playbook for Decarbonizing Process Heat in the Food & Beverage Sector here: https://www.renewablethermal.org/food-bev-playbook/.         

Media Contacts

Ben Finzel (for RTC)                                 
+1-202-277-6286                 

ben@renewpr.com            

The Renewable Thermal Collaborative (RTC) is a global coalition of companies, institutions, and governments committed to helping reach midcentury climate goals by scaling up renewable heating and cooling technologies at their facilities to dramatically reduce their carbon emissions. The RTC collaborates with its Members and Solutions Providers to accelerate industrial decarbonization by addressing and identifying ways to overcome the technology, policy, and market challenges that large thermal energy users face. Visit www.renewablethermal.org to learn more.

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