The race is on to transition Europe to a clean, circular economy with net-zero greenhouse gasses (GHG) by 2050. Europe’s industrial sector, which includes energy, industrial processes, manufacturing and construction, currently accounts for 51% of Europe’s total carbon emissions, and on a wider scale, Europe is responsible for 10% of global GHG emissions. Although the EU successfully reduced its GHG emissions by 22% between 1990 and 2017, and is due to meet its 2030 target outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement (reducing emissions by at least 55% compared to 1990 levels), more needs to be done to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Energy-intensive industries such as cement, iron and steel, petrochemicals, and paper and pulp, among others, face the biggest challenges in reducing their significant carbon footprints while remaining competitive in a global market. There’s no silver bullet for the successful transition — rather, a mix of solutions based on innovative technologies enabling industries to make incremental changes over the coming years. Here, we take a look at some of the emerging technologies that can help industries drive down emissions without stifling their competitiveness.