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Opportunities for industry in energy and circularity

25 Jun 2019

Global demand for energy from the industrialised, fossil fuel-based economy continues to grow. This is at a time when enormous progress is being made in the development and use of new energy sources and energy-saving technologies. How can these developments really contribute to a better climate?

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During the Tech4Climate conference on 25 June 2019, TNO presented the white paper "Technology for Climate. Beyond Paris: the next business wave" with possible technological innovation to create new products for the energy transition. This offers industry a number of inspiring examples in new (or future) markets and the major business opportunities that lie in these markets. By exploiting these opportunities, industry can take the lead.

Industry the key to the energy transition

After all, it is industry itself that plays an important role in marketing innovations and developing technological solutions for a completely CO2-free society. High-tech systems & materials and sustainable chemical technologies are the key to the energy transition. As noted in a previous TNO Whitepaper on cheaper energy for the energy transition , targeted investment in innovation can both significantly reduce the cost of the energy transition and unlock considerable growth potential for clean and future-proof industry.

Something has to be done!

Recent research by McKinsey Energy Insight shows that even on the basis of current CO2 reduction plans, as gathered worldwide, we will achieve a 22% reduction in man-made greenhouse gases by 2050. This is insufficient to reach the IPCC limit of maximum 1.5 degrees global warming in 2100. In order to achieve the IPCC target agreed in Paris, we need a 66% reduction by 2050. So something has to be done!

The challenge

As the title suggests, the white paper looks beyond the Paris Climate Accord. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for achieving CO2 reduction. The white paper describes the challenge and then highlights the business opportunities that Dutch industry can exploit. The opportunities described range from complete technological systems and products to key components. These are new generations of electric, heat and chemical batteries. It will be necessary for large and small companies, knowledge institutions and enterprising public authorities to work together. Only large-scale industrialisation of good products and processes will help. The white paper elaborates, in particular, on the opportunities for the chemical industry and in the field of electricity and heat storage.

1) TNO (2019), Energy becomes cheaper – innovation makes the energy transition profitable
André Faaij and Ruud van den Brink, The Hague, March 2019.

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