TransformingBasic Industriesfor the Future

Energy-intensive industries play a major role in our economy, producing the basic materials for infrastructure, buildings, machinery and consumption goods. But they are also responsible for a vast share of energy and resource consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) is a global hub for numerous energy-intensive industries. The development of strategies for decarbonisation and resource efficiency is not only crucial for achieving global sustainability, but also for the future of NRW’s economy. Against this background, the Wuppertal Institute works closely with representatives of leading corporations and organisations in various projects. Beyond the state of NRW, the Institute is equally active nationally, at European level and globally. Its work focuses on analysing the correlation between energy-intensive production processes and the opportunities and risks of the energy transition ("Energiewende"), identifying future low-carbon process technologies and the necessary framework conditions for their successful development and implementation.

Energy-intensive steel production
Energy-intensive steel production is responsible for a large share of global energy and resource use and greenhouse gas emissions. This is why it is important to transform the industry through sustainable innovations such as direct reduction using hydrogen.

Shaping Structural Change Innovations

The Wuppertal Institute's work spans the analysis of complex energy systems and scenarios, the assessment of resource flows along value chains and the evaluation of innovation systems in energy-intensive industries and regions. The Institute investigates possible paths for structural transformation and innovation that are compatible with economic and ecological sustainability. A special feature of the Institute’s research is transdisciplinarityhe projects are implemented in close interaction with industry actors. The aim is to explore and design sustainable paths with industry and civil society in joint learning processes and, on this basis, to develop both policy and corporate strategies. As part of this approach, the scientists accompany firms in their processes of sustainability and innovation management, addressing key areas for innovation in the value chain – such as dematerialisation, eco-design strategies and Industry 4.0.

The successful transformation of basic industries is a key sector for climate neutrality and resource efficiency at regional, national and global level.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Manfred Fischedick
President and Scientific Managing Director


You find more information on the transformation of the economy here:


Here you find up-to-date information on research findings and activities.


Here you find research activities in the field of energy intensive industries. A complete list is available here.

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