Panel 9. Deep decarbonisation of industry 

Deep decarbonization or net-zero CO2 emissions of industry is a challenging topic as the emitting plants are capital-intensive and have long lifetimes. At the same time it is crucial to get this sector on track to carbon neutrality as it emits around 40 % of total greenhouse gas emissions globally.  

Deep decarbonization of industry is getting more and more attention in the past few years. Major companies have announced carbon neutrality or net-zero targets by mid-century or earlier. Policymakers become increasingly aware of this challenge and the EU is on the way to implement a comprehensive Clean Industry Package in the context of its “Fit for 55” policy. Energy efficiency and breakthrough innovations with green electrification and hydrogen play a key role, but carbon capture and usage or storage is back on the agenda. Furthermore, material efficiency and circularity of key materials will be indispensable of an integrated strategy. 

While commitment of industry and policy makers is encouraging, it is clear that most solutions need partnerships between industry, policy and society. Green electrification, hydrogen and CCUS require new infrastructure but also green markets that are willing and able to pay for climate neutral products. Technological innovations are needed in some cases as well. 

As industries and policymakers are starting to act globally, a broad range of urgent issues emerge which shall be discussed in the panel: 

  • How to accelerate the implementation of innovative, breakthrough technologies needed for a climate neutral basic industry and how to quickly ramp up investment in these? 
  • How to integrate this industrial transition into the broader European and global energy transition regarding infrastructural and macroeconomic as well as regional and individual issues of a just transition? 
  • How to make use of the potentials of material efficiency and circularity for demand reduction and higher secondary shares of basic materials in a competitive world market environment? 
  • What are the lessons for an effective policy package for a climate neutral industry, with regards to carbon pricing and carbon border adjustment mechanisms, with regards to technology and infrastructure as well as standardisation of e.g. green hydrogen or green products and how to create green markets for climate neutral products? 
  • Which are good examples and opportunities for change agents that drive the industrial transition? 
  • What is the role of coalitions and initiatives aiming at transforming the industrial sector? 
  • What can the industrial transition learn from the energy efficiency debate? 

The panel aims at integrating these aspects of the transition towards climate-neutral basic industries. Scientists, policy makers and industry practitioners as well as decision makers will exchange the latest approaches and findings and particularly benefit from the huge body of concepts and success stories from energy efficiency.  

Panel leaders

 Stefan Lechtenböhmer

Stefan Lechtenböhmer, Wuppertal Institute, Germany

Stefan is Director for Future Energy and Industry Systems at Wuppertal Institut, Germany and adjunct professor in Environmental and Energy Systems at Lund University, Sweden. He focusses on industrial transition towards climate neutrality and is scientific head of the initiative IN4climate.NRW, which convenes over 35 large industrial companies, associations, state government and science.

 Marlene Arens

Marlene Arens, HeidelbergMaterials, Germany

Marlene Arens is Manager Associations Europe and Global within the Department of Environmental Social Governance at HeidelbergMaterials AG. In this role she represents HeidelbergCement in associations where the strategy to and the policy needs for a decarbonization of the cement industry are agreed on. Before joining HeidelbergCement, she gained extensive knowledge on industry transition working as a researcher for Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI), Germany, as well as a Post-doctoral Fellow at Lund University, Sweden. Marlene holds a Master's Degree Mechanical Engineering from the Technical University of Dresden, Germany, and a PhD from Utrecht University, the Netherlands, in the field of Resources, Innovation and Technological change.

Ira Brückner, HeidelbergMaterials, Germany

Ira Brückner is Manager Sustainability Strategy & Engagement at HeidelbergMaterials AG. Based directly at the CSO Dr. Nicola Kimm, she supports the strategic implementation of sustainability in the company and the ongoing process of ambitious goal setting and tracking. Ira studied environmental (M. Sc.) and waste (B. Sc.) engineering at the RWTH Aachen University and got her extra-occupational PhD in advanced wastewater treatment at the Institute of Environmental Engineering at RWTH Aachen University. She has several years of work experience in the water and wastewater sector, along with change & strategy management and is a certified CSR- & sustainability manager.

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