The breadth and coverage of analytical expertise in the IEA Technology Collaboration Programmes (TCPs) are unique assets that underpin IEA efforts to support innovation for energy security, economic growth and environmental protection. The 39 TCPs operating today involve about 6 000 experts from government, industry and research organisations in more than 50 countries1.

Heat Pumping Technologies (HPT TCP)


Saving costs and CO2 with industrial heat pumps

The HPT TCP supports deployment of heat pumps by quantifying the energy savings and emissions reduction potentials of heat pumps in different applications. By recuperating waste heat with heat pumps and combining processes, energy savings of 20% per year were possible in some industries. 

Saving energy on a dairy farm (Götene, Sweden).*

In 2014, energy use in industry accounted for close to 29% of world final energy consumption.** Heat pump technologies are an effective means of reducing demand for primary energy to create the heat – and the resulting CO2 emissions. While impressive efficiency gains have been achieved in other end-use sectors, there remains significant further potential to improve efficiency in the industrial sector.

For these reasons the HPT TCP carried out an extensive survey of the commercial entities in the industrial sector, reviewing the processes in order to identify potential energy savings and emissions reductions through implementation of heat pumps. Fifteen organisations in Europe and Asia took part in the four-year study, which resulted in 33 projects and 76 case studies.

One advantage of heat pumps in industrial applications is the potential to achieve significant energy savings by upgrading low-temperature, surplus heat at higher temperatures. An example of this is the case study of a dairy farm in Sweden.

The dairy processes 270 000 tonnes of milk per year using high-temperature steam purchased from a neighbouring industry for the pasteurisation process and for cleaning, equivalent to 30 000 megawatt hours (MWh).

The dairy was found to have significant capacity variations during the day, week and year, resulting in heat that was simply “lost”. It was found that by recuperating the surplus heat from the pasteurisation process and reusing it for cleaning, it was possible to achieve annual energy savings of 6 200 MWh and cost savings of EUR 158 000.

In addition, the demand for high-temperature steam was significantly reduced by implementing a heat pump to increase the temperature of the surplus heat from 30°C to 80°C, an increase that would enable the dairy to be self-sufficient in high-temperature steam. It was estimated that the initial investment cost of the heat pump (EUR 380 000) could be paid back within less than four years. Taken together, energy savings of 20% per year were possible.

Case studies of efficiency improvements with heat pumps in the report include a chocolate factory, an automobile manufacturer, a biomass combined heat and power plant, and a metal processing plant. Four main barriers were identified: lack of knowledge of the heat losses for each commercial application; lack of knowledge of the advantage and uses of heat pumps; the initial investment costs; and the need for high-temperatures. Technical and socio-economic solutions were identified for each barrier.

The case studies and findings have been compiled in the final report, Applications of Industrial Heat Pumps.

* Photo courtesy of Arla Foods
** IEA, Paris (2015), Key World Energy Statistics


  • Cold climate heat pumps
  • Energy efficient supermarket building pumps
  • Field measurements of building heat pump systems
  • Fuel-driven sorption heat pumps
  • Industrial heat pumps
  • Near zero-energy buildings heat pump concepts
  • Quality installation and maintenance
  • Smart grids and heat pumps
  • Solar thermal energy systems and heat pumps
  • Testing and rating residential heat pumps


  IEA member 
Contracting Parties  16  -  -
Sponsors -  -

For more information:

1. Information or material of the IEA Technology Collaboration Programmes, or IEA TCPs (formally organised under the auspices of an Implementing Agreement), including information or material published on this website, does not necessarily represent the views or policies of the IEA Secretariat or of the IEA’s individual Member countries. The IEA does not make any representation or warranty (express or implied) in respect of such information (including as to its completeness, accuracy or non-infringement) and shall not be held liable for any use of, or reliance on, such information.