About the project

Spirit-Heat / About


The industrial sector is one of the largest users of energy and one of the biggest CO2 emitters. The largest share of energy used by the industry concerns the production of process heat. In this context, high-temperature heat pumps would reduce energy use and allow for electrification.

These technologies are a sustainable still unexploited way to lower the dependence of the EU industry on fossil fuel, to achieve greater performance levels and to turn waste heat into new energy, thus saving money while preventing energy loss.

The commercial availability of industrial heat pumps at medium-scale capacities (500 kW to 10 MW) is limited to supply temperatures of around 100°C, while prototypes have been demonstrated at temperatures of up to 160°C for selected applications. These prototypes have not yet proven to be capable of covering large market shares due to several reasons: technical challenges, too high investment cost and lack of distribution and service network. The technology readiness level of available cost-competitive technologies varies between 4 to 6, while some technologies were demonstrated at TRL 7, but are subject to too high investment cost.

SPIRIT Objectives

Demonstrate three full-scale heat pump technologies in the food and paper industries, with three different technologies

  • Carry out a sustained operation of at least 2000 hours and up to 4000 hours per year per each system showing at least 30% reduction in energy use, energy cost and CO2 emissions.
  • Develop digital twins for all the demonstration plants to improve the technical performance of both the static and dynamic operation of the integrated systems also in combination with solar thermal applications.

Improve technical and economic performance of high-temperature heat pumps to enable an increase of their market uptake

  • Optimize compressor and oil system designs for industrial heat pumps, enabling supply temperatures between 100°C to 160°C
  • Develop guidelines for heat pump integration based on lessons learned from the demo-sites
  • Develop uniform European testing standard for industrial heat pumps performance
  • Perform a life cycle assessment of an industrial heat pump-based system in comparison with fossil-fuel-based alternatives
  • Transfer technology and learnings from industrial to other applications (district heating, solar thermal)

Develop MW-scale repeatable heat pump concepts, through modularization of the system and component standardization

  • Develop a modular heat pump concept for supply temperatures between 100°C to 160°C with low service requirements and competitive investment cost for fully equipped units
  • Estimate the European heat pump market potential in terms of magnitude, sizing and number of units in order to prioritize the size standardization of the components

Draft agreements and business models for delivery of upgraded heat addressing possible regulatory barriers

  • Develop and demonstrate innovative business models and contractual agreements to exploit the heat pump solutions defined in the three demo sites
  • Identify the regulatory barriers per European country that hamper the introduction of the heat pump into industrial processes
  • Analyse investment and potential business models from the end users’ perspectives, in the cases of use of the upgraded heat within the industrial plants

Create awareness of the challenges and benefits of heat upgrading technology in the industry for reducing energy costs and GHG emission

  • Engage and influence key stakeholders, with the ultimate aim of affecting policy, research, and practice
  • Exploit SPIRIT outcomes and foster their transfer to other contexts
  • Ensure capacity building through the organisation of a Summer School on Industrial Heat Pumps

SPIRIT is a European Project, funded under the Horizon Europe Framework Programme, aiming at implementing sustainable heat-upgrade technologies for industry.
Three demonstration sites
SPIRIT will demonstrate three full-scale heat pumps in the food and beverage and paper & pulp industrial sectors, with three different technologies.
SPIRIT Outcomes
Discover the SPIRIT outcomes in the Project Resources section: download the open-access deliverables, promotional material, publications and webinar recordings!
News and Events
Keep updated on the upcoming SPIRIT activities and events: read the project latest news and register to the webinars to know more about the world of industrial heat pumps!