Assessment of technology-based options for climate neutrality in Austrian manufacturing industry

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The goals set forth by the European Green Deal require extensive preparation and coordination of all stakeholders. As a valuable tool, energy scenarios can generate the necessary information for stakeholders to envision the right steps in preparing this transition. The manufacturing industries represent an especially important sector to investigate. They are responsible for both high energy consumption and GHG emission figures on the one hand side and provide great economic value for member countries on the other. We aim to provide a close investigation of all thirteen industrial subsectors that can be used as a solid information basis both for stakeholders within the manufacturing industries and policymakers. Our approach includes all industrial production processes. We achieve this by considering both transformation processes, such as blast furnaces or industrial power plants, and final energy-application. In addition, both scope 1 and 2 emissions of manufacturing industry are assessed in an effort to transparently indicate the interdependencies of industrial decarbonisation efforts with the overall energy system. We propose the integration of a novel stakeholder-based scenario, that puts special emphasis on first-hand information on mid to long-term planning of key industrial representatives, thereby going beyond existing scenario narratives (e.g., scenarios according to the European Monitoring Mechanism). Thus, a balanced deep decarbonisation scenario using best-available technologies can be compared with existing industry plans. To address these points, we have chosen Austria as a case study. Results indicate that industry stakeholders are in general agreement on their subsector-specific technology deployment and already envision investments towards a low-carbon pathway for their respective subsectors. While today's manufacturing industries rely at large on a great diversity of (mostly fossil) energy carrier supply, deeply decarbonised manufacturing industries of the future may be based on the following main energy carriers; electricity, CO2-neutral gases, and biomass. To mitigate emissions from geogenic sources, carbon capture technologies are needed. On the other hand, the synthesis of olefins in the chemical industry may provide a sink for CO2 assuming long-term use after production. In addition to the option of using it across subsectors, captured CO2 will have to be stored or sold to other economies. Comparison of the developed scenarios allows the identification of no-regret measures to enable climate neutrality by 2050 that should be deployed as soon as possible by push and pull incentives. The model results of the two transition scenarios show the need for technology promotion as well as infrastructure development needs and allow the identification of possible corridors, focal points, and fuel shifts – on the subsector level as well as in energy policy. Among others, the modelled magnitude of renewable energy consumption shows the need for swift expansion of existing national renewable energy potentials and energy infrastructure, especially for energy intensive industry regions. In light of the current energy consumption in other economic sectors (most notably in buildings or transport) and limited renewable potentials, large import shares of national gross domestic energy consumption are likely for Austria in the future.




Nagovnak, P., Schützenhofer, C., Rahnama Mobarakeh, M., Cvetkovska, R., Stortecky, S., Hainoun, A., … Kienberger, T. (2024). Assessment of technology-based options for climate neutrality in Austrian manufacturing industry. Heliyon, 10(3).

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