Industrial Innovation: Pathways to deep decarbonisation of industry

The Paris Agreement on climate change aims to keep the rise in global temperature to below 2°C and to try to limit the increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. To achieve these targets, energy-intensive sectors will need to significantly reduce their emissions. The extent to which key EU industrial sectors can benefit and contribute to a climate-neutral future depends on their ability to implement existing mitigation technologies, and on the continued development and commercialisation of new products and breakthrough technologies. The project takes a perspective to 2050 and beyond and analyses the technologies, pathways to 2050 and the policy mix needed for implementation.


The project aims to assess possible decarbonisation pathways for the EU industry sector towards 2050. It combines a detailed analysis of technology characteristics with a bottom-up modeling of industrial energy demand and GHG emissions using the model FORECAST. Alternative scenarios will be defined to learn about the possible contribution of individual technologies and mitigation options. The project covers a broad range of possible mitigation options including energy efficiency improvement, advanced energy- and resource efficient processes, fuel and feedstock switching, CCS and CCU, circular economy and downstream innovations like product innovation and switch, material efficiency, switch to services.

The project comprises three tasks with the following main objectives:

  • Task 1 details promising low-carbon technologies and product developments that can lead to deep decarbonisation of energy-intensive industry sectors by 2050 and beyond. It focusses on breakthrough innovations.
  • Task 2 uses the bottom-up simulation model FORECAST to develop scenarios for technology uptake pathways up to 2050. The scenarios show possible pathways to a low-carbon industrial sector in the EU based on varying assumptions on technology development and the socio-economic framework. They aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 to 95% compared to 1990.
  • Task 3 focusses on the policy instruments needed to bring the breakthrough innovations to market.

Task 1: Technology Analysis

Chan, Y.; Petithuguenin, L.; Fleiter, T.; Herbst, A.; Arens, M., Stevenson, P. (2019): Industrial Innovation: Pathways to deep decarbonisation of Industry. Part 1: Technology Analysis. ICF and Fraunhofer ISI.

Download report part 1

Task 2: Scenario analysis and pathways to deep decarbonisation

Fleiter, T.; Herbst, A.; Rehfeldt, M.; Arens, M. (2019): Industrial Innovation: Pathways to deep decarbonisation of Industry. Part 2: Scenario analysis and pathways to deep decarbonisation. ICF and Fraunhofer ISI

Download report part 2


  • 2017 - 2019


  • European Commission, DG CLIMA


  • ICF (coordination)
  • Fraunhofer ISI
  • Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (DIW)