Here’s how to navigate your way through industrial decarbonisation

Publish date: October 28, 2020

Can we bring industrial greenhouse gas emissions to zero and if so, how?

This question has been at the core of our work and guided our research for several years as we believe that industry is a crucial sector that needs to take specific measures to tackle climate change.

Climate damaging emissions from heavy industries, such as steel, cement and chemicals, are responsible for a fifth of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions. As we switch to low-carbon solutions in sectors such as transport and energy, we need to do the same for energy intensive industries.  With this project, we aim to delve deeper into each of the solutions which collectively contribute to climate change mitigation in industry.

Emissions per sector Data from the European Environmental Agency

We delved deeper into options for industrial decarbonisation already in 2018, when we outlined how heavy industry regions should be moving towards a low-carbon economy in our ‘Industry’s Guide to Climate Action’.

However, there are still many open questions: when will these technologies be available? What are their costs? Where could they be deployed? Is one better than the other?

Resourcefull project

To answer all these questions, we created an accessible archive of climate solutions for industry that includes all the necessary information for policymakers to make more informed decision. This growing database of knowledge is a project that will grow further as we learn about new research and technologies relevant for industrial decarbonisation.

With the “Climate Solutions for Industry” project, we aim to identify, compare and evaluate potential solutions to accelerate industrial decarbonisation. Our intention was not only to provide a list of solutions available, but to assess whether these solutions are truly compatible with the EU climate goals. Our aim is to present an honest account of the climate impact of the  technologies at our disposal.

Climate solutions web

Climate criterias

To assess their emission reductions, the report uses three qualitative screening criteria to assess the technology’s:

  •  contribution to climate change mitigation,
  • resource efficiency and
  • deployment readiness

    Scoreboard (1)

With this simplified methodology, we want to illustrate the realistic potential and the current readiness level for each solution to make sure we start building the right framework to reach carbon neutrality.

In total, we analysed 15 solutions, dividing them into 5 main building blocks. In addition to creating a standardised database, we added an overview of relevant projects currently being developed in various European countries. With a comprehensive overview of both the technologies on the table and existing project, options could be picked from the shelf, tailored to a specific context and added to the climate plans of EU member states.

As conversations around hydrogen have been filling the energy debate in the past year, we decided to start our project with the assessment of the production of the so-called green, blue and grey hydrogen, along with the analysis of their costs, availabilities and potential limitations.

We will be releasing the different parts of our project in the coming weeks and look forward to sharing our findings to foster knowledge sharing and an active dialogue.

We therefore welcome on board of our industrial decarbonisation journey through our interactive platform.
You can also download the report through our publication page.


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