A hot opportunity to cut emissions

Process heat is the steam, hot water or hot gases used in industrial processing, manufacturing and space heating. It is New Zealand’s second biggest opportunity to reduce energy-related carbon emissions after transport.

About half of New Zealand’s process heat demand comes from burning coal or natural gas.

How process heat is used throughout the economy

  • 79% by the industrial sector — including sawmills, pulp and paper mills, and food processing plants (including dairy).
  • 10% by the commercial sector — mainly in shops and office buildings.
  • 7% by the public sector — schools, hospitals, prisons and public administration buildings.
  • 4% by the agricultural sector — mainly for indoor cropping (glass houses).

High-emissions fuels are used most for process heat

  • Natural gas accounted for the largest proportion of fuel consumption at 38%, and the largest levels of greenhouse gas emissions at 50%.
  • Coal accounted for 11% of fuel consumption, and 26% of greenhouse gas emissions. This ratio is due to coal holding the highest carbon content of any fossil fuel – and being more emissions intensive per unit of industrial output than any other source.
  • Wood-derived fuels (including black liquor) accounted for 23% of fuel consumption. Their collective greenhouse gas emissions were 1%.

Sourced from EECA EEUD 2016 data (2018).

Process heat accounts for about 9% of our total emissions, and 27% of our energy-related emissions.

Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment

What EECA is doing

PHiNZ initiative with MBIE

We're working with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) on the PHiNZ (Process Heat in New Zealand) initiative, to make process heat more energy efficient and climate-friendly.

Learn more about our work with MBIE on process heat(external link)

Process heat factsheets

As part of our work with MBIE, these factsheets have been created to give an informative snapshot of how process heat is used in New Zealand and in key industries.

Process heat overview(external link)

Dairy manufacturing(external link)

Indoor cropping(external link)

Meat and meat product manufacturing(external link)

Petrochemical industry(external link)

Wood processing(external link)



Through our GIDI (Government Investment in Decarbonising Industry) Fund, we are partnering with business to accelerate the decarbonisation of industrial process heat in New Zealand.

EECA administers the GIDI Fund on behalf of the Government through a contestable process that will see $69 million of capital grants co-investment made available to support good projects.

Learn more about the GIDI Fund