Process heat in New Zealand

We are working with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority to improve process heat's energy efficiency and increase the input from renewable energy.

Process heat offers one of our largest opportunities to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy emissions.

We are working with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority on the Process Heat in New Zealand (PHiNZ) initiative. PHiNZ is looking into the opportunities for, and barriers to, improving the energy efficiency of process heat and increasing the input of renewable energy.

We recently published a technical paper, Process Heat in New Zealand: Opportunities and barriers to lowering emissions. Feedback on that paper will inform the development of the Government’s plan to ensure we have the regulatory and policy settings we need to transition to greater renewable energy.

PHiNZ was developed in response to one of the priority goals – the renewable and efficient use of process heat – in The New Zealand Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy [PDF, 816 KB].

How process heat is used

The International Energy Agency (IEA) defines process heat as energy “primarily used for warming spaces and industrial processes”. This is often in the form of steam, hot water or hot gases.

In New Zealand, process heat is used in the commercial and industrial sectors. Here are some facts about process heat and its use:

  • Energy (including transport) contributes nearly 40% of New Zealand’s total gross emissions. Process heat makes up one-third of New Zealand’s overall energy use and contributes approximately 9% of gross emissions.
  • 60% of process heat is supplied using fossil fuels, mainly gas and coal.
  • 78% of New Zealand’s process heat is used in industry, particularly manufacturers that turn resources into products eg, heat is used to turn wood into pulp and paper or to process milk into powder, as well as sanitise equipment.
  • The commercial sector uses 10% of New Zealand’s process heat, mainly for space heating large buildings and offices.
  • The public sector uses 7% of our process heat. For example, hospitals use steam for sterilisation and heating buildings.

Getting process heat decisions right is important because heat plants (including boilers) have long economic life spans of 15 to 20 years, although they are often used for much longer periods of time (20 to 40 years).

Process heat factsheets

We have developed factsheets and resources summarising our current understanding of process heat. The resources completed to date are:

Process heat – Current state factsheet [PDF, 1.7 MB]: Overview of how process heat is being used in New Zealand, including energy demands and related greenhouse gas emissions

Wood processing factsheet [PDF, 1.1 MB]: Overview of how process heat is used in wood processing, including energy demands and related greenhouse gas emissions

Dairy manufacturing factsheet [PDF, 701 KB]: Overview of how process heat is used in dairy manufacturing, including energy demands and related greenhouse gas emissions

Meat and meat product manufacturing factsheet [PDF, 156 KB]: Overview of how process heat is used in meat and meat product manufacturing, including energy demands and related greenhouse gas emissions

Other food and beverages manufacturing factsheet [PDF, 452 KB]: Overview of how process heat is used in food and beverage manufacturing, including energy demands and related greenhouse gas emissions

Petrochemical industry factsheet [PDF, 248 KB]: Overview of how process heat is used in the Petroleum, Chemical & Rubber Manufacturing sectors, including energy demands and related greenhouse gas emissions

Primary metal and metal product manufacturing factsheet [PDF, 233 KB]: Overview of how process heat is used in primary metal and metal product manufacturing sectors, including energy demands and related greenhouse gas emissions

Non-metallic mineral products factsheet [PDF, 536 KB]: Overview of how process heat is used in the non-metallic mineral product manufacturing sectors, including energy demands and related greenhouse gas emissions

Indoor cropping factsheet [PDF, 1.6 MB]: Overview of how process heat is used in the indoor cropping sectors, including energy demands and related greenhouse gas emissions

PWC analysis on process heat decision-making(external link): EECA-commissioned study on how large process heat users are investing in process heat improvements.

Next steps

Using the information that we have published on this page, the Government will now develop options to improve energy efficiency and increase the use of renewable energy as an input in process heat. It is planned that a discussion document to consult on these options will be released in the latter half of 2019. This work forms a part of the broader renewable energy strategy the Government is developing.

Contact us

Any queries about PHiNZ can be sent to energymarkets@mbie.govt.nz

Last updated: 02 May 2019