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Research project

The Future of Climate Neutral Industry in the EU

This project has received funding by Breakthrough Energy.

According to the International Energy Agency, only about half of the technologies required to achieve net zero by 2050 have reached the market yet, i.e. are competitive without significant public support. Net zero by 2050 in the EU and other developed countries will notably necessitate the massive uptake of the next generation of cleantech to decarbonise sectors such as steel, cement, and aviation. Bold political action alongside new political frameworks will be needed.

The EU has an elaborate framework dealing with carbon as well as other environmental impacts at installation level (e.g. ETS and other EU legislation) and innovation (e.g. EU and member states Innovation Funds, including state aid). Less developed is the creation of a demand shock (pull), initially starting with state aid and blended investments (e.g. grants, loans, debt guarantees a sub-market equity) to de-risk investment. According to the Cleantech Group ‘the EU is severely lacking scale-up capital and support’ to back up young companies before the demonstration or commercialisation stage, hindering it from securing the industrial policy benefits of its climate innovation efforts. This increases the risk that promising ventures will move to North America or Asia to reach scale.

The project will address this challenge by:

  1. Making demand for low-carbon materials a policy issue, and thereby
  2. Developing a concrete proposal for a European framework to accelerate the uptake for low-carbon materials, inter alia to allow the EU to reap industrial benefits;
  3. Building a coalition of member states;
  4. Engaging workers’ representations and locally affected governments;
  5. Undertaking a small number of media briefings.

Close co-operation and co-ordination with other ongoing activities are sought throughout, notably via participation in the regular Breakthrough Innovation Hub and co-ordination meetings with the Energy Transition Commission and Material Economics and other BE grantees.

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