Steel, paper, plastic, and meat and dairy - four large energy intensive industrial sectors that have important things in common: They play a significant part in the European economy, the materials and nutrients they produce are central to almost all parts of society, and they are large direct and indirect emitters of carbon dioxide. A deep decarbonisation of these industries is both particularly challenging and absolutely crucial. However, low carbon transitions in these different sectors are still relatively unexplored. While some actors are beginning to discover new pathways, emerging initiatives and innovations for decarbonisation have not been systematically mapped, understood and assessed. This is where REINVENT steps in: exploring and assessing future decarbonisation pathways in a wider systemic innovation context.
The project's overall aim is helping Europe to better align future climate policies with the specific conditions in energy intensive industries. This will enable it to achieve its long-term climate objectives, while supporting the development of other societal benefits and the economy.
Government climate policy is only one of many factors that shape perceptions and strategies within the different sectors. To gain a deeper understanding of viable pathways, the REINVENT approach is to study transitions and emerging initiatives from within these sectors, rather than from an outside policy framework. Furthermore, REINVENT studies entire value chains for each of these industries, which means also paying attention to non-technological factors such as supply chains, financing, trade, and social and economic impacts. This perspective is necessary to support the innovations and system-wide transformations that decarbonisation requires.
REINVENT is funded by EU Horizon 2020 and gathers an interdisciplinary team of five research institutions with established networks in industry as well as excellent track records on impact from previous work on policy and engaging in public debate. The team works closely with a selected group of partners representing various stakeholders along the value chains (e.g., SCA, Covestro, German Steel Federation and IKEA).