Energy and Low Carbon Roadmap for the European Chemical Industry

Published: 16/05/2013

Ecofys assisted the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) in preparing its 2050 Energy and Climate Roadmap. The roadmap explores the long-term role of the chemical industry as Europe progresses to an energy efficient and low greenhouse gas emission future. The Roadmap assesses the future demand for and production of products from the European chemical industry towards 2050 and the development and uptake of energy efficient and low carbon technologies under four scenarios. The scenarios differ in their assumptions regarding the energy and climate policy environment in Europe and the rest of the world, in their outlook regarding the development of energy and feedstock prices and with respect to the speed of innovation. The Roadmap also assessed the role the European chemical industry can play in providing energy efficiency and low carbon solutions for other sectors of the economy.

The Roadmap concludes that products of the chemical industry enable significant energy efficiency improvements and GHG emission reductions in all sectors of the economy and that this enabling role is likely to grow in the future. It is shown that current energy and feedstock price differences with key competing regions jeopardise the global competitiveness of Europe’s chemical industry. Isolated action in terms of energy and climate policy, leading to higher costs for European operations will further damage the competitive position and will result in lower production in Europe and increasing imports of chemical products into Europe.

Energy efficiency will continue to contribute most to future reductions of GHG emissions of the European chemical industry. Other contributing technologies are changes in the fuel mix used for heat production and N2O abatement. Further reductions are possible by decarbonisation of the power sector and, beyond 2030, by CCS. Growth and innovation are essential to achieve deep net GHG emissions reductions in the decades to come. 

Based on these findings, the Roadmap ends with a call to policymakers to design the energy and climate policy framework in such a way that it stimulates sustainable and efficient growth of the chemical industry in Europe in order to attract investments and enhance further innovations. The Roadmap provides an answer by the European chemical industry to the call from the European Commission for sector-specific information on GHG emission reductions by bringing new bottom-up input into discussions on European energy, climate and industrial policy beyond 2020. Ecofys managed the overall project, and performed independent analytical contributions.

The study is available for download at:

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Michiel Stork
Sustainable Industries and Services
cefic - The European Chemical Industry Council