The CO2 reduction potential for the Europeanindustry via direct electrification of heat supply(power-to-heat)

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Environmental Research Letters, 2020, 15, (12)
Issue Date:
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The decarbonisation of industry is a bottleneck for the EU's 2050 target of climate neutrality. Replacing fossil fuels with low-carbon electricity is at the core of this challenge; however, the aggregate electrification potential and resulting system-wide CO2 reductions for diverse industrial processes are unknown. Here, we present the results from a comprehensive bottom-up analysis of the energy use in 11 industrial sectors (accounting for 92% of Europe's industry CO2 emissions), and estimate the technological potential for industry electrification in three stages. Seventy-eight per cent of the energy demand is electrifiable with technologies that are already established, while 99% electrification can be achieved with the addition of technologies currently under development. Such a deep electrification reduces CO2 emissions already based on the carbon intensity of today's electricity (∼300 gCO2 kWhel-1). With an increasing decarbonisation of the power sector IEA: 12 gCO2 kWhel-1 in 2050), electrification could cut CO2 emissions by 78%, and almost entirely abate the energy-related CO2 emissions, reducing the industry bottleneck to only residual process emissions. Despite its decarbonisation potential, the extent to which direct electrification will be deployed in industry remains uncertain and depends on the relative cost of electric technologies compared to other low-carbon options.
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