Clean Industry in China: A Techno-Economic Comparison of Electrified Heat Technologies, Barriers, and Policy Options

China’s manufacturing sector generates 61% of the country’s CO2 emissions, nearly three-quarters of which is related to industrial process heating. In order to meet China’s climate targets and attain a zero-carbon industrial sector, decarbonizing these industrial heating processes is a necessity. If China’s electricity grid is similarly decarbonized, direct electrification is the most practical means of supplying this heat efficiently at the required scale.

This report conducted a techno-economic comparison of two electrified heat technologies – industrial heat pumps and thermal batteries – and their alternatives in China. They found that for temperatures below 100 °C, industrial heat pumps were the second-cheapest heating option, remaining competitive with combined heat and power (CHP) variants and considerably cheaper than natural gas or electric boilers.

Relative to coal-fired technologies, heat pumps were found to achieve significant reductions in five pollutants (CO2, NOx, SOx, PM10, and PM2.5) and thermal batteries in three pollutants (SOx, PM10, and PM2.5), accounting for the pollutant emissions associated with the electricity they use. As China’s grid increasingly shifts to zero-emissions electricity sources, electrified technologies’ pollutant emissions will decline, ultimately reaching zero if China’s grid becomes fully decarbonized.

Smart policy is necessary to overcome economic, technical, and infrastructure barriers to industrial electrification in China. In this report, we discussed various policy options that can be deployed to incentivize the adoption of electrified technologies in China.


May 21 2024


1:00 PM - 6:00 PM

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Berkeley Lab
Berkeley Lab

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