Hybrid boiler systems in the Dutch industry

A techno-economic analysis of the potential of hybrid boiler systems to cost-effectively decarbonise steam generation in the Dutch industry

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The Netherlands aims to accelerate the energy transition. Accordingly, ambitious targets have been set for the industrial sector. This will require additional investments in the Dutch industry which is expected to reduce the CO2 emissions at limited costs in comparison with other sectors. However, the ambition to reduce the emissions can create a risk of loss of activity and jobs if the industrial businesses prospects are not ensured. Power-to-heat technology provides an opportunity to the industry to reduce the emissions for heating processes. This technology can be implemented in hybrid configurations to ensure the electrification of heat. Hybrid configurations are characterised by their ability to switch between natural gas and electricity which could cost-effectively reduce the emissions consuming electricity at low prices. In this research, a techno-economic evaluation of hybrid boiler systems is performed to analyse the potential of this technology to cost-effectively reduce the CO2 emissions for steam generation in a production process, in 2030. To this end, the operation of hybrid boiler systems was simulated and assessed. The performance of hybrid configurations was compared to alternative options. Finally, the hybrid systems were analysed under different scenarios for 2030. The results for the case study presented, showed that hybrid configurations saved operation costs and reduced the direct CO2 emissions by almost 20%. Therefore, the hybrid boiler could cost-effectively reduce the emissions. However the potential benefits of hybrid boilers are subjected to variation of electricity, natural gas and CO2 prices.