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Industrial Decarbonization Pathways: The Example of the German Glass Industry


Mitigating anthropogenic climate change and achieving the Paris climate goals is one of the greatest challenges of the twenty-first century. To meet the Paris climate goals, sector-specific transformation pathways need to be defined. The different transformation pathways are used to hypothetically quantify whether a defined climate target is achievable or not. For this reason, a bottom-up model was developed to assess the extent of selected industrial decarbonization options compared to conventionally used technologies from an emissions perspective. Thereby, the bottom-up model is used to analyze the German container and flat glass industries as an example. The results show that no transformation pathway can be compatible with the 1.5 °C based strict carbon dioxide budget target. Even the best case scenario exceeds the 1.5 °C based target by approximately +200%. The 2 °C based loose carbon dioxide budget target is only achievable via fuel switching, the complete phase-out from natural gas to renewable energy carriers. Furthermore, the results of hydrogen for flat glass production demonstrate that missing investments in renewable energy carriers may lead to the non-compliance with actually achievable 2 °C based carbon dioxide budget targets. In conclusion, the phase-out from natural gas to renewable energies should be executed at the end of the life of any existing furnace, and process emissions should be avoided in the long term to contribute to 1.5 °C based strict carbon dioxide budget target.

Funding source: The authors would like to thank the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) for funding provided within the “Kopernikus - Power-to-X” project.
Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Germany

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