NEFI – New Energy for Industry: Innovation network for emission-free industry grows by four additional projects

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Climate- and Energy Fund supports – funded by the Ministry of Climate Action –  cutting-edge technologies for a fossil-free industry with a project volume of 6,7 million euros

The innovation network NEFI – New Energy for Industry has been granted funding for four new projects by the Climate and Energy Fund within the framework of the Energy Model Region with a total project volume of 6.7 million euros. In the funded projects, the existing research priorities of NEFI – Innovation Fields will be supplemented by research and development of new technologies and potential applications for industrial heat pumps and flexibilities in the industrial energy system.The projects have been developed in NEFI_lab, co-financed by the provinces of Upper Austria and Styria. The projects were submitted together with the research and industry partners.

Leonore Gewessler, Federal Minister for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology : „The decarbonization of industry is an important element in achieving climate targets. The new projects continue the successful path of developing new technologies up to the demonstration stage and showcase the high potential of efficiency increase and emission reduction in the domestic industry. In addition, they secure and create many jobs in our regions and ensure that Austria is a climate-friendly business location.“

Theresia Vogel, Managing Director of the Climate and Energy Fund: „The energy-intensive industry is facing enormous challenges. With the new projects, we are making an important contribution to climate protection while strengthening the domestic industrial location with the development of climate-friendly technologies “Made in Austria“.

Wolfgang Hribernik, NEFI Network Coordinator: „We are pleased to continue the development of leading-edge technologies for decarbonizing the industry with these four projects. In the last three years, we have already been able to demonstrate in nine projects how sustainable energy supply and the digitization of industrial processes can be successfully achieved. We are doing research and development very close to immediate implementation, for example in hybrid storage technologies. Here alone, the reduction potential is 11 million tons CO2 per year in the EU.“

Transformation of industrial sector as important lever for national climate targets

In Austria, industry plays an important role in achieving climate targets, accounting for around one third of domestic final energy consumption and 48 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. NEFI – New Energy for Industry is a unique innovation network that plays an important role in the successful transformation of the industrial sector towards climate neutrality.

„Industrial energy systems are highly complex“, explains Wolfgang Hribernik. „A transformation towards climate neutrality requires not only new individual technologies but also technical and economic solutions for systematic roll-out, new regulatory frameworks and new business models that go beyond the companies’ existing operational activities.“ Moreover, there have to occur changes of the superordinate energy system. NEFI therefore pursues a systemic approach that sees industry and commerce from different sectors as a central part of an integrated energy network. This approach is being implemented in the current individual projects – and will be strengthened with today’s commitment of four additional projects.

Systemic Approach for an emission-free industry

In the current NEFI projects, for example, solutions for industrial waste heat utilization, storage technologies such as innovative hybrid storage and new solutions for the use of renewable energy in industrial energy systems are being developed. In addition, models and scenarios for the necessary infrastructure and framework conditions to supply up to 100% renewable energy to the Austrian industry by 2050 are being developed as a basis for decision-making by industry and politics.

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