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Decarbonization Potential Of Solar Thermal

In a new article by SolarFlux, CEO Naoise Irwin shares how solar thermal has massive yet under-appreciated decarbonization potential. Almost 6% of U.S. energy consumption could be decarbonized simply by using solar energy for industrial process heat applications, he wrote.

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), solar thermal and photovoltaic heat technologies can meet many temperature needs — almost 25% of 2014’s industrial process heat demand.

Naoise noted that this has huge potential impact and that it’s surprising that using solar energy for process heat applications hasn’t really been a hot topic. It’s not that talked about, yet should be if we truly want to decarbonize the industry.

On this, NREL wrote, “The industrial sector has not typically received the same level of attention and rigor in energy analysis as other end-use sectors, even though the industrial sector accounts for nearly one-third of all U.S. primary energy use (EIA 2020).”

Another analysis by the agency looked at how solar energy technologies could meet industrial process heating demands, but Naoise noted that it was limited to a few older solar technologies, and of those looked at, the highest potential was parabolic trough solar thermal, which is what SolarFlux specializes in.

Naoise is putting his focus on raising more awareness about how solar thermal can help meet the challenges of decarbonizing U.S. industry, especially since there is hardly any emphasis placed on it. In a private message on Twitter, he shared how people could help raise awareness of the importance of solar thermal for decarbonizing the industry.

“I’d encourage employees and customers of industrial companies to ask what is being done to reduce consumption of fossil fuels, and ask if they have explored solar thermal as an option.

“I’d also encourage policymakers to take a closer look at solar thermal as a means to reduce emissions this huge but hard to decarbonize sector.”

He also emphasized that not only is 25% of global energy consumed in the industrial heat processes sector, but there’s no current strategy to decarbonize this sector!

You can read his full blog post here.

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