Even assuming that the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) will have achieved climate neutrality by 2050, it is probable that products will still be manufactured by means of industrial processes that produce carbon dioxide. These "unavoidable" volumes of CO2 have, however, not yet been clearly defined. In order to find a solution for managing these volumes, an explanation of the term is required that sets out explicit criteria for determining what is unavoidable. In the discussion paper "Unavoidable production of CO2 in a climate-neutral primary sector in North Rhine-Westphalia - definition and criteria," the authors from IN4climate.NRW's working group on the carbon dioxide economy provide a definition for process-related, unavoidable CO2 production. In doing so, they are making a contribution to the dialogue on the future role of the carbon dioxide economy in North Rhine-Westphalia aiming establishing a climate-neutral primary sector.
"The transformation to a climate-neutral primary industry is a comprehensive task and without doubt a great challenge. From today's point of view, there are many technological options available," says Prof. Dr. Manfred Fischedick, Scientific Managing Director of the Wuppertal Institute, and adds: "However, this does not apply to all processes and products without restrictions. Where the generation of CO2 is unavoidable due to the process and there are no substitutes for the products, solutions must be found for dealing with the resulting CO2. This requires a transparent recording of the quantities involved".
The IN4climate.NRW working group has set itself the goal of drawing on scientific support to discuss the fundamental steps required to establish a carbon dioxide economy in North Rhine-Westphalia and documenting the findings of this discussion. The publication of the papier has been supported by the companies Air Liquide Deutschland GmbH, Covestro AG, HeidelbergCement AG, RHM Rohstoff-Handelsgesellschaft mbH, thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions AG and Spenner GmbH & Co. KG as well as by the German Cement Manufacturers' Association (VDZ), Germany's Lime and Mortar Research Association (Forschungsgemeinschaft Kalk und Mörtel e. V.) and the research institutions Fraunhofer UMSICHT (Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology), the German Economic Institute (IW), Cologne, RWTH Aachen University and the Wuppertal Institute.
The discussion paper's findings may be used as a basis on which to estimate how much CO2 will continue to be unavoidably produced at which locations in North Rhine-Westphalia in the future as well as which methods of managing the CO2 are conceivable, such as utilisation, transport or storage. The paper thus creates a basis for further discussions which will drive the formation of a carbon dioxide economy forward, thereby supporting the process of transformation towards a climate-neutral industrial sector.
IN4climate is supported by the state-funded scientific competence centre SCI4climate.NRW. Researchers are investigating the development possibilities and organisational options for setting the energy-intensive industry in North Rhine-Westphalia on a climate neutral, sustainable footing. SCI4climate.NRW is a research project involving six institutions and coordinated by the Wuppertal Institute. The partners are the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety, and Energy Technology UMSICHT, the German Economic Institute (IW), RWTH Aachen University, the VDEh Institute for Applied Research (BFI) and German cement manufacturers' association, VDZ gGmbH.