Process heat in New Zealand

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

Opportunities from process heat

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

Working with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) we have been looking at how process heat is used in New Zealand and what the opportunities are for increasing efficiency, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from its use.

Our joint action plan is called Process Heat in New Zealand (PHiNZ) and part of the plan is the development of sector-specific factsheets and producing data on industrial heat and fuel demand.

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 eg, 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:

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

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

Dairy manufacturing factsheet [PDF, 701 KB]: Overview of how process heat is used in dairy manufacturing, 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

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

We will publish more factsheets soon on other sectors including:

  • meat processing
  • petrochemical industry
  • food manufacturing.

If you have corrections or updated information, please contact us at energymarkets@mbie.govt.nz 

Next steps for PHiNZ

We will continue to prepare and publish sector-specific factsheets and analysis including dairy manufacturing opportunities (MAC curves).

In the coming months, we plan to publish an issues paper outlining the status quo and barriers in relation to improving process heat's energy efficiency and increasing the input from renewable energy. We want to test with stakeholders our understanding and definition of the issues, to inform the development of a future action plan.

We will also consult stakeholders and the public as we develop proposals for an action plan on process heat.

Contact us

For more information on PHiNZ contact us at energymarkets@mbie.govt.nz