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Innovations for climate protection

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Innovations for climate protection

Greenhouse gas emissions in the industrial sector are to drop to 140 million tonnes by 2030. Compared with emissions in 1990, which totalled 284 million tonnes, this is a reduction of around a half. Lower consumption of energy and resources and climate-friendly production technologies are to help cut greenhouse gases.

3 min reading time

Lower CO2 emissions from production

In order to make industry climate-friendly, it is important to replace CO2-intensive energy sources and input materials with renewable ones, primarily renewable electricity and also, increasingly in future, green hydrogen. Production processes will change and springboard innovations will be needed to reduce emissions by some industrial sectors. For example, the use of hydrogen is promising as a means of reducing CO2 emissions in the steel industry. With its Hydrogen Strategy the Federal Government aims to make Germany the world’s leading supplier of modern hydrogen technologies. State funding specifically for introducing hydrogen technologies to industry is provided by the programme “Wasserstoffeinsatz in der Industrieproduktion” (use of hydrogen in industrial production).

For the steel industry, the Steel Action Concept is linked to the Climate Action Programme 2030. The Federal Government prepared this in cooperation with the steel industry. The aim is for the steel industry in Germany to be CO2-reduced and in future, CO2-free.

The national decarbonisation programme also supports the development of climate-friendly production processes in industry. Around a billion euros are available up to 2023 for innovative projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from production. In addition, the Competence Centre on climate change mitigation in energy-intensive industries (Kompetenzzentrum Klimaschutz in energieintensiven Industrien, KEI) was established in November 2019. It advises energy-intensive industrial businesses on all aspects of CO2 reduction in their processes.

With its Climate Action Programme 2030 the Federal Government has also agreed the funding programme “CO2-Vermeidung und -Nutzung in Grundstoffindustrien” (use and avoidance of CO2 in primary industries). This programme supports the use of CCUS technologies (Carbon Capture Usage and/or Storage) in primary industries as well as the more rapid and comprehensive establishment of CCUS process chains in this sector. CCUS or CCS technologies serve to prevent CO2 emissions being released into the atmosphere and to use or store them instead.

Promoting technological expertise

The production of energy is becoming increasingly decentralised with the expansion of renewable energy sources. The need for mobile and stationary electricity storage systems is increasing. The Federal Government's aim is to tap the great value-added potential of battery cell production in Germany and Europe, too. For this reason, the industrial production of battery cells for mobile and stationary energy storage systems is a key focus of the Energy and Climate Fund (Energie- und Klimafonds): the Federal Government is providing up to three billion euros in investment funds for this. The aim is to consolidate and sustainably boost technological expertise on the battery cell and its entire value-added chain in Germany.

Using energy more efficiently

Using less energy is beneficial to climate protection. The Federal Government therefore wants to reduce primary energy consumption. One instrument to achieve this is the funding package “Energieeffizienz und Prozesswärme aus erneuerbaren Energien in der Wirtschaft” (energy efficiency and process heat from renewable energies in industry). The programme supports investments in energy-saving production processes. It also taps great CO2-saving potential by using industrial waste heat, e.g. as a climate-friendly energy supply for local authority district heating networks.

New tools for a low-emissions industry

The Federal Government is helping companies and research institutes to develop and implement solutions for a material-efficient and resource-efficient industry. Alongside funding for research and innovations, this mainly concerns the market launch and distribution of new and innovative technologies as well as innovative construction and production technologies. The crucial factor here is that the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is considered from the outset in product design and that material cycles are closed. An example of this type of future technology is lightweight construction, which is being promoted via the Technologietransfer-Programm Leichtbau (technology transfer programme for lightweight construction).