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Keynote 1: International Trends in Decarbonizing Heavy Industry: Roles of electricity, hydrogen and synthetic fuels

To achieve net zero emissions by 2050, the industry sector will need to get close to zero emissions by itself. The industry requires large amounts of heat, which represent ¾ of its energy needs. A commonly held view is that green electricity can replace fossil fuels for low-temperature heat but not the high-temperature heat – but it is not rooted in facts. Already today, induction arc furnaces melt steel at very high temperature, and many technologies can respond to most needs. Compact high-temperature heat storage technologies emerge, which will link variable green power to continuous heat requirements. If hydrogen has no big role to play with respect to the energy needs of the industry, it still has a quite important role to play, 1) to reduce iron ores in steel making and cut the related process CO2 emissions, and 2) as a precursor ammonia, methanol and naphtha, which are important feedstocks for the chemical industry.




Cédric Philibert

Senior Analyst of Energy and Climate, IFRI, Centre Energy and Climate, and IEA (ret.)