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Process Heating

Industrial process heating systems are ubiquitous in the industrial sector as they are essential in the manufacture of most consumer and industrial products, including products made out of metal, plastic, rubber, concrete, glass, and ceramics. Within the United States, fuel-based process heating (excluding electricity and steam generation) consumes 4.8 quadrillion Btu of energy annually, which equals roughly 24% of total industrial primary energy consumption[1].

Energy performance improvements in process heating systems differ between fuel- and electric-based, but are most effective when accomplished by combining a systems approach with an awareness of efficiency and performance improvement opportunities that are common to systems with similar operations and equipment.  

Top Ten Energy Efficiency Measures for Process Heating Systems

  1. Check Burner Air-to-Fuel Ratios
  2. Use Oxygen-Enriched Air for Combustion
  3. Check Heat Transfer Surfaces
  4. Reduce Air Infiltration in Furnaces
  5. Furnace Pressure Controllers
  6. Reduce Radiation Losses from Heating Equipment
  7. Install Waste Heat Recovery Systems for Fuel-Fired Furnaces
  8. Pre-heat Combustion Air
  9. Pre-heat Loads Using Flue Gases from a Fuel-Fired Heating System
  10. Using Waste Heat for External Processes

You can read related TIP SHEETS AND PUBLICATIONS to improve performance and save energy, accumulated over time by the DOE Advanced Manufacturing Office.

Learn more with the PROCESS HEATING SYSTEM INFO CARD, explore additional resources specific to Better Plants partners, and connect with the process heating-subject matter expert below.

[1] U.S. DOE’s Manufacturing Energy and Carbon Footprints (2014 MECS) -


Subject Matter Expert - Sachin Nimbalkar

Sachin has more than eight years of professional experience which includes working as an R&D Staff at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Sachin provides technical support to Better Buildings, Better Plants partners (mainly industrial and wastewater treatment partners) through energy road map development, baselining analysis, In-Plant Trainings, and field visits to investigate feasible measures to reduce process energy requirements. Sachin has conducted several training and demonstration workshops throughout the U.S., India, China, Ukraine, Costa Rica, and Turkey covering energy efficiency in process heat systems, system-specific and cross-cutting energy audits, and ISO 50001 implementation steps and tools. Sachin has also contributed to the development of several U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) software tools, including the process heating tools (PHAST and PHMT) and the EnPI tool. Sachin has achieved the “Qualified Specialist” recognition in using three key DOE energy efficiency software tools – PHAST, SSAT, and PSAT. He received a B.E. degree in mechanical engineering from Government College of Engineering, Pune, India, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees again in mechanical engineering from Rutgers University, New Jersey.

You can reach Sachin with process heating-related questions at