Energy Intensive Industries

Energy intensive producing industries – that is mainly steel and glass production, basic chemicals and aluminium industry, and paper and cement manufacturing – are a major part of the economy and responsible for a vast amount of both the energy and resource consumption as well as greenhouse gas emissions. These industries produce the basic materials for infrastructures, buildings, machines and consumption goods.

Steelworker next to a blast furnace
Steelworker next to a blast furnace. Photo: Martin Steffen / laif

Many energy intesive basic material producing industries are located in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). The development of decarbonisation and resource efficiency strategies is thus of importance not only for the global sustainability, but also for the future of the industry and economy of NRW. It is against this background that the Wuppertal Institute closely works together with representatives of leading corporations and organisations from these industries in various projects. Objectives are, for example, the analysis of the correlation of energy intesive production processes and both the chances and risks of the energy transition (Energiewende), or the identification of future low-carbon process technologies that as well as the necessary framework conditions for their successful development and implementation.

The tasks of the Wuppertal Institute include analyses of energy systems, scenarios or flows of resources throughout the whole value chain, as well as assessments of specific innovation systems of the individual branches. In the process of doing so, the possible ways of a structural transformation and innovation against the background of an economic and ecological sustainability are investigated. The industry agents are intimately involved in the work throughout the whole process, as is the spirit of a transdisciplinary approach.


Prof. Dr. Stefan Lechtenböhmer

Tel.: +49 202 2492-216

Fax: +49 202 2492-198

Conference Deep Decarbonisation of Materials Processing

The conference explored the current state of knowledge and provided a comprehensive overview of existing activities in the EU, states and regions as well as industries and associations worldwide.

Conference Panels

A variety of speakers from policymakers of pioneering states and regions to representatives from leading companies to heads of industry associations and NGOs working on the topic provided cutting-edge information on technologies, policies and networks in the field:


Panel 1: Introduction and Setting the Stage on Near-zero Carbon Emission Strategies for Materials Processing Industries

The speakers emphasised why processing industries are so important in the context of GHG emission reduction and summarised that new technological solutions as well as an integrated global approach and an appropriate policy framework are needed.

Panel 2: On the Road to Near-zero Carbon Processing Industries: Technologies, Infrastructures and Pilots

Several inspiring projects and examples that demonstrated how deep decarbonisation of processing industries could happen were presented. Challenges and collecting visions on what would be possible in the industry were highlighted.

Panel 3: How to Spur Industrial Progress: Roadmaps, Funding and Cooperation

Innovative approaches from the EU, Germany, Japan and two European regions to develop innovation strategies with energy-intensive industries show that the topic has been identified by front running policymakers. What is needed from policy to support such processes?

Panel 4: Make it happen: The Role of (International) Innovation, Trade, Industry, Energy and Climate Policies

Representatives from high-level industry, policy and research summarised the highlights of the conference and outlined pending tasks for policy.

Publi- cations

Here you find publications on energy intensive industries.


Here you find research activities in the field of energy intensive industries.