Industrial Waste Heat Recovery

Decarbonization Avenue : Industrial Waste Heat Recovery

Almost every industry that uses significant amounts of heat in its operations wastes a good portion of that heat - in some industries, this could amount to quite a lot. If such heat is captured and utilized, it could mean a win-win for the company and for the environment.

Waste heat recovery solutions are applicable for any industry that uses significant amounts of heat for their operations - and this could mean over 75% of businesses in the manufacturing and process sectors.

Depending on the industry, the waste heat available can be low grade / low temperature waste heat, moderate or even high temperature waste heat in industries such as cement and steel. Significant potential for innovation and implementation exist to recover all types of industrial waste heat..

Waste heat recovery systems need to be customized for specific applications. While these are well developed for certain systems (for instance, boilers, diesel and gas engines), solutions are still evolving for many others (chillers, compressors etc).

Waste heat recovery solutions are a smart way to do good for the environment while doing economic good for companies and businesses. A key challenge is the nascent state of this industry for many waste heat capture applications. And as waste heat recovery systems need to be customized for specific applications, lack of standards and established solution providers hampers growth in this avenue.

Innovations in the industrial waste heat recovery domain for the 2020-2030 period will be around industries using high temperature processes, use of digital tools, technologies to convert heat into cold, and advances in heat recovery from low temperature and low grade waste heat

Decarbonization potential

Waste heat recovery presents one of the most effective energy efficiency avenues that can result in significant decarbonization in the 2020-2030 period.

About 38% of all energy used in the industrial sectors globally is released as waste heat. CO2 from industrial activities is about 35% of all CO2 emissions, or about 12 billion tons per annum.

The above data indicate that about 4.5 billion tons of CO2 emissions result from industrial wasted heat every year.

Other estimates suggest that globally, industrial waste heat could constitute 7000-8000 TWh per annum. Under suitable assumptions, this indicates annual CO2 emissions in the range of 2.5-3 billion tons from industrial waste heat.

Even if we take the mean value from the above estimates, about 3 billion tons of CO2 emissions per annum from industrial waste, it is a very large amount, and also indicates the potential that industrial waste heat recovery holds for decarbonization.

Industries impacted

  • Automobiles & auto components
  • Chemicals & petrochemicals
  • Electrical
  • Electronics & semiconductors
  • Engineering goods & machinery
  • Fertilizers
  • Mining & metals
  • Oil & gas
  • Packaging & plastics
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Power
  • Printing & publishing
  • Paper & forest products
  • Textile & apparel
  • Waste management

Latest News on Industrial Waste Heat Recovery

Themes & Topics

  • Waste heat recovery across industries

    • Automobiles & auto components 

    • Cement

    • Chemicals, petrochem & pharma

    • Commercial sectors such as restaurants, hotels & hospitals

    • Consumer durables manufacturing

    • Cosmetics, toiletries and consumer products

    • Data centers

    • Engineering goods & machinery

    • Food & beverages

    • Healthcare services & equipment

    • Mining & metals

    • Oil & gas

    • Packaging & plastics

    • Pharmaceuticals

    • Printing & publishing

    • Paper & forest products

    • Textile & apparel

  • High temperature sectors

    • Waste heat recovery from boilers

      • Cogeneration

    • Industries

      • Cement

      • Metals

      • Chemicals

      • Glass






  • Low temperature heat recovery

    • Low temperature waste heat from internal combustion engines

    • Waste heat recovery from chillers & air conditioners

    • Waste heat recovery from compressors

    • Stirling engine

    • Seebeck effect

    • Organic Rankine cycle

    • Kalina cycle

    • Pre-heating for industrial processes

  • Industrial waste heat for district heating

  • Use of heat pumps for waste heat recovery and use

  • Producing hydrogen from waste heat

  • Heat storage for low temperature heating

  • Heat exchangers for low temperature heating

  • Heat pumps

  • Awareness creation

  • Training/capacity building

  • Collaboration & partnerships

  • Use of IT & digital tools

  • Case studies

  • Business models

    • ESCO

  • Financing










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