Decarbonization, electrification and the case for modern electric process heaters

Companies in the oil and gas industry are taking bold steps to reduce their carbon footprint. The overall strategy to tackle carbon emissions relies not only on alternative energy investment and increased efficiency, but also converting key industrial processes to electric. Here Volker Metzger, Applied Thermal Expert for Europe at industrial heating technology manufacturer Watlow, explores the role of electric heating technologies in decarbonizing industry.

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The pressure to electrify

Though there are still passionate debates about the scope and causes of climate change, governments and industry leaders are taking huge steps to meet climate change goals, especially with regards to decarbonization. According to the We Mean Business Coalition, over 700 companies have made far-reaching climate commitments, including many big players in the oil and gas industry

What is striking about the pressure to address climate change is that it does not come from one segment of the population, or from one international agreement. This means that even if a driver for change such as The Paris Agreement were to disappear, there would still be significant pressure to decarbonize and thus larger capital investments in electrification and decarbonization are still completely justified.

The Paris Agreement

The event that caused many energy companies to consider decarbonization strategies more seriously was the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, organized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This led to a broad consensus about climate change and what needed to be done to combat it. The UNFCCC parties agreed that, to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change, the increase in global average temperature would need to be kept to less than two degrees Celsius (°C) above pre-industrial levels. The conference resulted in the “Paris Agreement,” adopted by all UNFCCC parties, which was a first legally binding global climate agreement of its kind.

The role of electric heat exchangers

Electrification of industrial processes is one of the key strategic pillars for addressing climate change concerns. Many industries use gas-fired heaters, but we’re seeing a gradual shift to large electric heat exchangers. One challenge of this change is that electric heaters need to be able to accommodate the larger wattage and amperage requirements of these processes, which must be balanced with another challenge — control.

ABOUT Watlow

Founded in 1922, Watlow strives to be the leading provider of thermal solutions for the world’s most demanding applications. Utilizing our advanced technology, leading companies apply our thermal systems, which are ideally suited for vital applications such as clean and environmentally friendly energy systems and processes, front-end semiconductor processing and lifesaving medical and clinical equipment.

Since 1922, Watlow has grown in product capability, market experience and global reach. The company holds more than 980 patents and employs 2,000 employees working in nine manufacturing facilities and three technology centers in the United States, Mexico, Europe and Asia. Watlow also has sales offices in 50 countries around the world. The company continues to grow, while the commitment remains the same — to provide its customers with superior products and services for their individual needs.

For further information contact:

Johann Lainer
Tel.: +43 664 88188439
Watlow Plasmatech GmbH,

Brennhoflehen-Kellau 156,

5431 Kuchl,


US Headquarters 
Tel.: 1-(800)-928-5692; 
12001 Lackland Rd.,

St. Louis, MO,


For press enquiries contact:

Courtney Cowperthwaite or Francesca Avigo – Stone Junction Ltd
1 St Mary's Place, St Mary's Grove,

Stafford, Staffordshire,

ST16 2AR

Tel.: +44 (0) 1785 225416 
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