Displacing process-related natural gas use in the service and industrial sector
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In order to reduce emissions from the building sector process-related natural gas use in the service and industrial sector must be displaced by renewable energy sources. While there has been much recent focus on the residential sector, less is known about natural gas use in commercial and industrial applications. More insight is needed into which end-uses of natural gas contribute substantially to process-related natural gas use in the service and industrial sectors and how this gas use can be displaced by renewables. The following research question was therefore formulated: “How can process-related natural gas consumption in commercial and industrial applications be reduced and displaced by renewables?”. To determine which subsectors of the service and industrial sectors were likely to harbour significant process-related natural gas use a stock-level approach to benchmarking was performed using information on the relative energy intensity of different categories of buildings and the Vesta Mais model’s procedure to forecast building energy demand for space heating. It was found that swimming pools and commercial laundries had significant natural gas use in the services sector and the food industry, manufacture of basic metals, paper and building materials sector among industrial subsectors. Interviews were conducted with companies from three sectors, restaurants, swimming pools and commercial laundries, to determine the end-uses associated with process-related natural usage. Industrial process heat was found to be the predominant source of natural gas use for swimming pools, commercial laundries, while restaurant’s made use of a variety of gas fired cooking appliances in addition to process heat in the case of one restaurant that operated a brewing facility. A literature review was performed to identify possible renewable energy options to these natural gas end-uses. These include solar applications (flat-plate collectors, evacuated tube collectors, photovoltaic direct heating, hybrid PV/T), heat pumps, geothermal, biomass heaters, PCM thermal energy storage, waste heat recovery and Power-to-Gas options.