Innovative clean technologies can make energy-intensive industries climate neutral

The Commission published a report entitled Scaling up innovative technologies for climate neutrality, which analyses 184 demonstrator projects for climate neutrality in energy-intensive industries.

The projects include innovative clean technology areas such as electrification, the integration of hydrogen, carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS), circularity and energy efficiency. They have been tested in various energy intensive industrial plants, notably chemicals, cement, steel, glass, paper, ceramics and oil refineries throughout the EU.

With a total investment of  over €3 billion, they have been financed by EU instruments (mostly by Horizon EuropeHorizon 2020 and the Innovation Fund), and by individual EU countries through Important Projects of Common European Interests. The demonstrators are at different stages of maturity (technology readiness levels) and are not yet on the market. The report points to the need for follow-up investments for these clean technologies to enter the market by 2030 and to significantly contribute to the EU climate goals of 2050.

Key findings include:

  • The clear role for each of the EU financial instruments as they support technologies at different maturity levels.
  • Public spending can leverage relatively high private investments especially with mature technologies.
  • Energy efficiency and CCUS technologies have a great potential in all sectors and that more investment into electrification is also needed.
  • Circular technologies are significant in the chemicals industry, while the cement industry focuses on CCUS and energy efficiency.
  • Not all EU countries have such demonstration projects supported by an EU programme, despite the role of energy-intensive industries in their economies.


Energy-intensive industries represented 17% of EU greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 and their decarbonisation is therefore indispensable to reach climate neutrality in the EU. In April 2023, the EU adopted the revision of the EU Emissions Trading System, which incentivises energy-intensive installations to reduce their emissions more quickly.

This report is the result of a Commission internal Task Force for Demonstrating Climate Neutral Industries by 2030, led by the Directorate-Generals for Research & Innovation, Climate and Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. It follows up on the 2022 first ERA (European Research Area) industrial technology roadmap for low-carbon technologies in energy-intensive industries identifying possible research and innovation actions to accelerate the development and uptake of these technologies.

The Green Deal Industrial Plan of February 2023 recognises the need for “modernising and decarbonising energy-intensive industries” while the Net Zero Industry Act of 14 March 2023 aims to scale up the manufacturing of clean technologies in the EU.

Source: European Commission | Research and Innovation (