Analysing the Techno-Economic Viability of Different Solar Heating Systems in South African Beverage Plants




Industry, Renewable Energy Solutions, South African Beverages, High-Temperature Heat Pumps, Techno-Economic Analysis


With ongoing real-term reductions in the cost of renewable energy technologies, opportunities to reduce carbon emissions within industry have improved. While the South African industrial sector has been investing in photovoltaics to meet electricity requirements, little has been done to replace fossil fuels used for the generation of process heat, representing two-thirds of the energy consumed. While previous studies have demonstrated the benefits and limitations of solar thermal (ST) energy solutions for industrial applications, recent developments in high-temperature heat pumps (HTHP) offer opportunities for novel configurations, including the use of renewable energy like photovoltaics (PV). This study compares the techno-economic benefits of solar thermal energy systems with PV-supported HTHP systems within the South African beverage sector. After a general consideration, simulation calculations are presented for selected applications. The cost of heat is determined for PV-heat pump systems operating on a stand-alone basis and with heat storage. The study finds that the levelised cost of heat of US$0.050-0.073/kWhth is at least twice that of coal-fired steam boilers. The study, therefore, calls for further work on optimising systems minimising steam requirements, and thereby improving the economics of heat pumps and for a coordinated effort to support the development and financing of high-temperature heat pumps for industrial applications. 


Download data is not yet available.


G. Kosmadakis, “Estimating the potential of industrial (high-temperature) heat pumps for exploiting waste heat in EU industries,” Appl. Therm. Eng., vol. 156, no. March, pp. 287–298, 2019, doi:

F. Rozon, J. Koke, C. McGregor, and M. Owen, “Techno-economic analyses of solar thermal process heat integration at South African beverage producers,” Sol. Compass, p. 100063, 2023, doi:

R. M. Jakobs and C. Stadtländer, “Final report annex 48: Industrial heat pumps,” 2020. [Online]. Available:

B. S. Sadjjadi, J. N. Gerdes, and A. Sauer, “Energy flexible heat pumps in industrial energy systems: A review,” Energy Reports, vol. 9, pp. 386–394, 2023, doi:

C. Arpagaus, Hochtemperatur- Wärmepumpen. 2019.

“Climate data.” (accessed Feb. 26, 2024).

M. Bordival, F. M. Schmidt, Y. Le Maoult, and V. Velay, “Optimization of preform temperature distribution for the stretch-blow molding of PET bottles,” Polym. Enegineering Sci., 2009, Accessed: Feb. 15, 2024. [Online]. Available:

P. C. Hsieh, “Intelligent temperature control of a stretch blow molding machine using deep reinforcement learning,” Processes, vol. 11, no. 7, 2023, doi:

M. J. S. Zuberi, A. Hasanbeigi, and W. Morrow, “Techno-economic evaluation of industrial heat pump applications in US pulp and paper, textile, and automotive industries,” Energy Effic., vol. 16, no. 3, 2023, doi:

F. Rozon, C. McGregor, and M. Owen, “Long-term forecasting framework for renewable energy technologies ’ installed capacity and costs for 2050,” Energies, 2023, [Online]. Available:

International Energy Agency, “Net zero by 2050: A roadmap for the global energy sector,” 2021. Accessed: Mar. 09, 2022. [Online]. Available:

A. Louwen, M. Junginger, and A. Krishnan, “Technological learning in energy modelling: experience curves,” 2018. Accessed: Mar. 08, 2023. [Online]. Available:

B. Kiss, L. Neij, and M. Jakob, Heat pumps: A comparative assessment of innovation and diffusion policies in Sweden and Switzerland, no. January. 2011.

Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis, “Economic Data,” 2022. (accessed Nov. 30, 2022).

International Renewable Energy Agency, “Renewable power generation costs in 2020,” 2021. Accessed: Nov. 03, 2021. [Online]. Available:

M. Mkhize and Rad, “2022 large-scale renewable energy market intelligence report,” 2022. Accessed: May 29, 2023. [Online]. Available:

GreenCape, “The business case for solar PV in South Africa,” 2020. Accessed: May 29, 2023. [Online]. Available:

B. Epp, M. Oropeza, and M. Taylor, “Cost trends of solar energy for heat in industry,” 2021. Accessed: Jun. 22, 2022. [Online]. Available:

P. Saini, M. Ghasemi, C. Arpagaus, F. Bless, S. Bertsch, and X. Zhang, “Techno-economic comparative analysis of solar thermal collectors and high-temperature heat pumps for industrial steam generation,” Energy Convers. Manag., vol. 277, no. December 2022, 2023, doi:

Brewers Association, “Energy usage, GHG reduction, efficiency and load management manual,” 2014. Accessed: Aug. 12, 2021. [Online]. Available:

ABInbev, “Environment, social and governance report,” 2021. Accessed: Feb. 21, 2023. [Online]. Available:

IndexMundi, “Commodities,” 2022. (accessed Aug. 29, 2022).

Solar Payback, “Solar heat for industry - South Africa,” Feb. 2019. Accessed: May 14, 2021. [Online]. Available:

Nedbank, “Monthly average exchange rates,” 2022. (accessed Feb. 02, 2023).

Eskom, “Tariff history,” 2021. (accessed Sep. 16, 2022).

M. Braun, “Fleetwatch truck operated benchmarks,” 2018. (accessed Nov. 07, 2022).

South African Petroleum Industry Association, “Old fuel prices,” 2022. (accessed Aug. 30, 2022).

S. Meyers, B. Schmitt, and K. Vajen, “The future of low carbon industrial process heat: A comparison between solar thermal and heat pumps,” Sol. Energy, vol. 173, no. August, pp. 893–904, 2018, doi:




How to Cite

Koke, J., Rozon, F., & McGregor, C. (2024). Analysing the Techno-Economic Viability of Different Solar Heating Systems in South African Beverage Plants. International Sustainable Energy Conference - Proceedings, 1.

Conference Proceedings Volume


Solar Thermal and Energy Efficiency for Sub-Saharan Africa‘s Industry and Commerce