The value of heat increases with increase in temperature.
Higher temperatures give more potential use cases, reduce the volumes needed to process or store the heat, and increase efficiency of several processes including conversion efficiencies of turbines turning heat into electricity.
It is pretty straight forward to produce high temperatures by burning fossil fuels. Combined with their low costs and their easy storage, this is what makes fossil fuels such popular sources of energy and their global presence so ubiquitous.
Renewable methods for heat generation also exist. Some of which can also produce relatively high temperatures. This post is an attempt to provide a brief overview of these other methods and discuss their applicability and challenges.
Biomass, e.g. in the form of wood pellets or straw, is burned in furnaces to generate heat. This is common at Danish district heating plants.
Like biogas, challenges faced by biomass include limited availability of feedstock.
Solar flat panels produce temperatures up to 60-70ºC/140-160ºF. For large-scale production this is well-suited for heating water for district heating and other low-temperature processes.
Though situated in one of the least sunny regions, Denmark is home to 75% of all large-scale flat panel solar fields in the world where they produce heat at costs competitive to natural gas. Given that Denmark’s district heating network only represents 1% of the global district heating market, and produces heat for just 0.1% of the global population, large-scale flat panel solar fields may arguably be one of the world’s most overlooked business- and climate opportunities.
Interested in reading more? Please see the links to my other articles below. Additionally, a ‘Like’ from you will also be much appreciated as this should help direct more attention at the many business and climate opportunities the market for heat production offers.
Thank you for reading,