New Energy for Industry 2021: The first Conference of the Innovation Network for an Emission-free Industry

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Experts discuss technological and systemic solutions for the transformation of the industrial energy system

Around 50 speakers from research, business and politics

Decarbonisation and transformation of the industrial energy system is an essential contribution to achieving national climate targets, as the industrial sector is responsible for almost half of Austria’s CO2 emissions. From May 6-7, 2021 the first scientific conference of the NEFI Innovation Network has been organised virtually. The event highlights the importance of research and innovation as well as the necessary framework conditions on the way to a climate-neutral industry. After the opening address of Federal Minister Leonore Gewessler, the first day of the conference focuses on technological challenges. In addition to the presentation of current systemic solutions for decarbonising the industrial energy system, the Policy Talks take place on the second day, with a high-level discussion panel including representatives from the EU, the federal and state governments and industry.

Around 50 speakers and experts from research, industry and politics will take part in the two-day conference to discuss the transformation of the industrial energy system. Over 350 participants are registered for the first NEFI conference online. In the interactive sessions, both the scientific contributions and the first results from the ongoing 17 NEFI projects will be presented and discussed. The policy talks will deal with the necessary political and regulatory framework conditions that are required for the conversion to a climate-neutral energy supply and for securing Austria’s position as a high-tech location.

Transformation of the industrial sectors – an important lever for the national climate targets

NEFI – New Energy for Industry as a unique innovation network, occupies an important position for the success of the transformation of the industrial sector towards climate neutrality. With about one third of the total primary energy consumption and almost half of Austria’s CO2 emissions, industry is a decisive factor, along with transport and mobility. Within the framework of the opening dialogue entitled “The path to a climate-neutral industry”, the members of the NEFI Cluster Steering Committee demonstrate that – due to the high complexity of the industrial energy system – a transition to a climate-neutral industry requires not only the development of individual technologies, but also systemic and economic solutions. In addition, systematic roll-outs, new regulatory frameworks and new business models that go beyond the companies’ existing operational activities are necessary.

Added value of the Showcase Region NEFI for Industry

In the Austrian industry, many companies are already actively addressing the issues of decarbonisation, energy efficiency and renewable energy supply. The two presentations from the NEFI Industrial Board highlight the requirements for cross-sectoral cooperation between industry and the energy sector as well as the challenges facing the electricity grid for the success of the energy transition. An added value for the industry offers the NEFI Industrial Board. This is a platform for direct exchange between the representatives of the Austrian industry and NEFI, to cooperate and advance the topics of decarbonisation and transformation of the industrial energy system.

Around 50 speakers and panellists will take part in the conference, among them the Federal Minister Leonore Gewessler (BMK), Jürgen Tiedje (EU-KOM, GD Research and Innovation), Markus Achleitner (State Councillor for Economic Affairs and Energy, Upper Austria), Dieter Drexel (Federation of Austrian Industries), Barbara Eibinger-Miedl (State Councillor for Economic Affairs, Tourism, Regions, Science and Reserach, Styria), Elisabeth Engelbrechtsmüller-Strauß (Fronius International GmbH), Wolfgang Haider (Borealis Polyolefine GmbH), Joseph Kitzweger (Lafarge Cement Industries GmbH), Ursula Lackner (State Councillor for Environment, Climate Protection, Energy, Regional Development and Spatial Planning, Styria), Stephan Laiminger (Innio Jenbacher GmbH), Johannes Rath (Wienerberger Building Solutions), Florian Maringer (Cabinet of the Federal Ministry, BMK), Albrecht Reuter (Fichtner IT Consulting and SINTEG C/sells), Martin Wagner (VERBUND Energy4Business GmbH), Robert Tesch (Siemens Austria and CE) and Theresia Vogel (Climate and Energy Fund). The NEFI Cluster Steering Committee is represented by Wolfgang Hribernik (AIT Austrian Institu­te of Technology), Thomas Kienberger (Chair of the Department of Energy Composite Technology, Montanuniversität Leoben), Gerhard Dell (OÖ Energiesparverband), Christiane Egger (OÖ Energiesparverband) und Christian Altmann (Business Upper Austria – OÖ Wirtschaftsagentur).

Erste NEFI-Konferenz: On Demand Content

The papers, keynotes and scientific sessions of New Energy for Industry 2021 will be made available for review after the conference. The links are on the website:


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