Study shows: climate-neutral industry by 2040 is feasible

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by Michael Wöss

The study "transform.industry - transformation paths for a climate-neutral industry in Austria in 2040" shows various solutions that reconcile climate protection with innovation and competitiveness. The study was commissioned by the Climate and Energy Fund - funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Action (BMK).

The transformation of Austrian industry is a key element in achieving the planned climate neutrality for Austria by 2040. Solution approaches are analyzed in four different scenarios and recommendations for action are formulated. The study shows suitable technologies as transformation paths in twelve different industrial sectors. The study was carried out on behalf of the Climate and Energy Fund by the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology, the AEA Austrian Energy Agency, the Chair of Energy Network Technology at the University of Leoben and the Energy Institute of the Johannes Kepler University.

Climate Protection Minister Leonore Gewessler: "Our goal is to be climate-neutral by 2040. The use of new technologies is just as central to this as research and development. The results of the 'transform.industry' study show how we can achieve our climate target and at the same time strengthen Austria as a business location. After all, the transformation can only succeed holistically if the preservation of prosperity and competitiveness in Austria are our top priorities."

Bernd Vogl, Managing Director of the Climate and Energy Fund: "The transformation of the Austrian economy towards climate neutrality is challenging. The results of the study show what measures and costs are necessary to make industry sustainable and climate-neutral. We will continue to work on this basis and shape our offers for industry."

Christian Schützenhofer, project coordinator at the AIT - Austrian Institute of Technology: "The solutions identified in the study all contribute to achieving Austria's 2040 climate target. The electricity demand of industry will increase significantly by then - the expansion of renewable energies and the necessary infrastructure to transport them must be a top priority in the coming years.


Insights into the study

A consumption model for industry was developed, taking into account different forms of energy supply. The four scenarios "Renewable gases", "Circular economy", "Innovation" and "Sector coupling" compare and model the maximum development of technology and energy source applications. The results enable a robust prediction of future energy demand and forecast the application and spread of sector-specific technologies. In addition to the results, the following recommendations for action were formulated, for example:

  • Value-adding use of electricity and biomass
    Planning security through clear framework conditions for technology transformation
    Expansion of national potential for electricity generation
    Carbon capture and storage or utilization are crucial for achieving the climate target

The most important findings of the study as well as explanations of the methodology and the scenarios examined can be found here: Transform Industry Pathways to climate neutrality for twelve industrial sectors in Austria