Research field of thermal process technology

BMWK initiates new research field in the Industry and Commerce research network

The new research field of thermal process technology is dedicated to the goal of defossilizing high-temperature processes above 1,000 °C. While some processes are flexible enough to be heated with renewable electricity, climate-neutral fuels will be necessary for many applications in the future.

Temperatures above 1,000 °C

The majority of all industrial processes used today with temperatures above 1,000 °C are heated using fossil fuels.

The goal of defossilizing these processes is particularly complex. Although some processes can in principle be heated electrically, they do not offer the load flexibility to follow the fluctuating generation of renewable energies. Less flexible processes can be heated with sustainable fuels such as fossil fuels. green hydrogen be heated.

Plant park worth billions 

For economic reasons, the switch to climate-neutral heating can only take place gradually. After all, there are billions in value in the existing plant fleet. In many cases, new construction is neither ecologically nor economically desirable. On the other hand, retrofitting for climate-neutral heating is technically easy to implement. And there is also potential in process management to further reduce overall energy requirements.

Curator Joachim Wünning

Joachim Wünning was appointed as the new curator of the research field. His aim is to drive research and development forward through regular exchanges and networking between a large number of stakeholders. As an expert in energy-efficient and low-emission combustion technology, Wünning brings the necessary tools to achieve real progress. At the same time, he emphasizes that an open-minded approach is essential. Without a technologically unbiased analysis, there is a risk that the best solutions will be overlooked. 

Cooperation with the Research Association for Industrial Furnace Construction

Similar goals to the newly formed research field have been pursued for years by the VDMA's Research Association for Industrial Furnace Construction (FOGI). Close cooperation is therefore a logical step.

"The research field of thermal process technology and the research community for industrial furnace construction can benefit from each other and complement each other well in their work. Similar players with similar interests are represented in both networks - competition can be left out of the equation in order to solve common problems. The research field also offers an incentive for medium-sized plant manufacturers to be a driving force in the field of research funding for politicians" says Joachim Wünning in the Interview with the project management organization Jülich. 

Successful networking of interdisciplinary research should therefore help to make thermal process technology fit for the energy transition.

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