Less hot air for a less hot climate: evaluating the German waste heat reduction programme

Panel: 1. Policies and programmes to drive transformation

This is a peer-reviewed paper.

Fabian Voswinkel, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research, Germany
Andrea Grahl, German Energy Agency (dena), Germany
Clemens Rohde, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI, Germany


The German industry sector amounts to almost one third of final energy consumption and shows large potentials for energy efficiency. Research has shown that waste heat reduction and utilisation bears great savings potential. Hence, one of the more large-scale programmes is the waste heat programme for subsidised credit financed by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and administered by the development bank KfW. It is open for companies of any size with a special support scheme for SMEs.

To successfully adapt the programme to changing conditions, thorough evaluation is imperative. This paper draws on primary data from the evaluation of the programme. It gives insight both into individual waste heat concepts, as well as into the impact on macro-level emissions reduction targets. The methodology for the impact evaluation is thoroughly described and applied on evaluation results.

Policies are structured according to a line of priorities starting with waste heat avoidance. The remaining waste heat should then be used according to the waste heat cascade: 1. direct integration of waste heat into processes 2. integration of waste heat into other operating processes 3. external utilisation, and 4. generation of electricity from waste heat. The effectiveness of waste heat utilisation depends on numerous influencing factors such as the quantity of waste heat, temperature level and time availability.

In the evaluation, waste heat concepts showed to be very heterogeneous in structure and quality. Surveyed administrative staff stated that stricter requirements for the structure and standardisation of the presented concepts would help to streamline the application process, which would reduce waiting times and reduce barriers for companies to participate. Target achievement analysis concludes that with a constant number and structure of participant companies, the target of yearly savings of 1 million tonnes of CO2-eq. until 2020 can be achieved with an exceedance of 90%.

While free-rider effects are an issue in such a large-scale programme, survey results show an increased awareness for energy efficiency pointing towards the existence of positive spill-over effects into further investments inside or outside of the company.


Download this presentation as pdf: 1-035-18_Voswinkel_pres.pdf

Download this paper as pdf: 1-035-18_Voswinkel.pdf