By Oren Lieber-Kotz
The Renewable Thermal Collaborative (RTC) Summit on October 19 & 20, 2023, catalyzed collaborations among thermal energy buyers, solutions providers, NGOs, and policymakers to cut emissions from heat use. The Park Hyatt in Washington, DC provided a sophisticated backdrop to lively panel discussions and bustling networking sessions.
Conversations emphasized how existing renewable technologies can cut emissions in the near future. In sessions like “Accelerating Industrial Heat Pump Deployment” and a dozen “Innovation Showcase” presentations interspersed throughout the event, providers of high-temperature heat pumps, thermal batteries, Energy-as-a-Service contracts, renewable natural gas, and concentrating solar thermal underscored how they have already deployed these solutions. In his keynote, Congressman Sean Casten’s keynote address emphasized how nearly any facility can deploy waste heat recovery (WHR).
Buyers have already begun acting on these opportunities. The “Deploying Decarbonized Fuels: Case Studies and Infrastructure Opportunities” panel explained how RTC Member AstraZeneca will eliminate its U.S. thermal emissions by procuring renewable natural gas (RNG) from RTC Sponsor Vanguard Renewables.
By facilitating knowledge sharing and networking, the RTC Summit helped attendees learn and build relationships to surmount the barriers preventing further progress. Breakout sessions on individual technologies provided a venue for candid discussions about common hurdles and how to overcome them. The panel “Innovations in Financing” touted how Energy-as-a-Service contracts and third-party financiers can help buyers deploy newer solutions by displacing capital costs and reducing.
Networking and collaboration emerged as the beating heart of the event. Outside the presentation rooms, at exhibitor tables, and during Thursday’s plated dinner, representatives from large energy buyers, technology and service providers, NGOs, and governments built new connections and deepened existing ones. These relationships will drive the innovations and collaborations that decarbonize thermal energy over the next year and beyond.
As the curtains closed on the RTC Summit 2023, attendees left Washington with a clearer sense of near-term opportunities, the work needed to overcome remaining obstacles, and a community of partners with whom to tackle the challenge.
Those who benefited from the event should participate in the RTC’s year-round work, including:
- Monthly Community Calls exploring developments in thermal decarbonization.
- Working groups engaging around key technologies and issues.
- Contributions to publications, case studies, and events.
- Government advocacy for renewable thermal technologies.
- Tools connecting companies with partners and resources.
- Networking sessions with energy buyers and solutions providers.
The RTC Summit will return to the Park Hyatt in Washington, DC on September 30 & October 1, 2024. Keep an eye on this webpage for updates.