The role of industrial heat pump applications according to Paul Hodson, DG Energy

Jan. 16, 2015

An interview from Mr. Paul Hodson, Head of Unit of Energy Efficiency, DG Energy explaining what is the contribution potential of industrial applications to the energy and climate  as well as the energy efficiency targets.

The European Heat Pump Association would like to thank Mr. Paul Hodson for his contribution to our Heat Pump News. 

1.     How important do you think that energy efficiency and the use of renewables are in industrial applications?

More than half of the EU’s primary energy consumption is used for heating, 969 Mtoe in 2010. In industry, heat demand was estimated at 165 Mtoe in 2010, which represents 17% of the European heating demand.

Industrial heat can be divided into three categories depending on the necessary temperature. Processes using heat above 400ºC represent 57% of the total industry heat consumption while low temperature heat demand (up to 100ºC) represents 25% of the total industrial demand. The rest of heat is used in medium temperature processes (between 100ºC and 400ºC).

From a technological point of view, heat pumps are well placed to be used in low temperature applications. Although fossil fuels will still be necessary for some industrial processes, renewable energy can also play a role in applications with higher temperature needs if solid biomass or biogas is used.

Industry’s energy consumption for heating has been falling in recent decades, reflecting the efforts made by industry in order to reduce its consumption. This trend needs to be continued and strengthened in order to reply to the competitiveness and security of supply challenges ahead of us.


2.     What are the key priorities of the energy policy agenda for 2015? Are large heat pump applications one of the priorities of the DG Energy’s agenda?

The energy and climate challenges we face today and those ahead of us are increasingly complex. Experience has shown that a more European approach is needed to meet them in an effective and affordable manner. Member States on their own will not be able to deal with these challenges. Building an Energy Union will be at the top of the political agenda. The Energy Union must address the objectives of competitiveness, security of supply and sustainability. The recipe for this is to take forward European energy policy, in particular in the following key areas. 

  • The completion of the internal energy market.
  • Enhancing security of energy supply, based on solidarity and trust.
  • Moderating our energy demand through energy efficiency and moving forward with decarbonisation of our energy mix including by a more effective Research and Innovation policy.

Decarbonisation should be one of the pillars of the Energy Union. In this respect, the agreement on the 2030 Framework regarding energy and climate objectives have now, to be put into effect.

In consequence, energy efficiency will be at the top of the agenda, the deployment of heat pumps, including large heat pump applications are part of the energy efficiency policies both from an innovation and an implementation point of view.

3.     Policy implementation is very often hindered by lack of know-how and/or financial resources. Will the European Commission address this issue by organising programs on capacity building and the provision of financial support?

Under our H2020 EE Work programme, important emphasis is given to supporting the capacity building across the board, encompassing issues related technology use, organisational and financial innovation, implementation of legislative framework and networking. This strand of the EU support will continue in the future. The Horizon 2020 also offers support for technology development and implementation, including heat pumps.

As regards the EU financial support for investments, the Multi-Annual Financial Framework 2014-2020 significantly increases allocations for energy efficiency, in particular under European Structural and Investment Funds (EUR 17 billion expected). Further, recent Communication on "Investment Plan for Europe" proposes to establish a special "European Fund for Strategic Investments", whereas Energy Efficiency is expected to become one of its main areas of operation.