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The Dutch industry plays an important role in our economy and society. At the same time, it is responsible for about forty percent of greenhouse gas emissions in our country. The Climate Agreement therefore states that industries have to become more sustainable. This is Mission C: a climate-neutral and circular industry in 2050. This can only be achieved with an industrial system that consists of new and renewed chains, in which energy management is free of CO2, and carbon is used circularly.

This Innovation Program primarily focuses on the latter part of the paragraph: the circularity of carbon. The Innovation Program provides an overview of the specific contributions that innovation in this field can make to the mission, as well as the immediate innovative challenges that need to be addressed. TKI Energie en Industrie supports entrepreneurs and scientists in developing innovations that contribute to these challenges.

Towards a CO2 free industry

Dutch industries emitted 54.1 Mton CO2-equivalent in greenhouse gas emissions in 2020. Approximately 80 percent of the industry's energy demand is attributed to heating, while the remaining portion is primarily associated with other processes. Particularly in the petrochemical, fertilizer production, and refining industries, as well as in sectors such as fine chemicals and food processing that require lower, yet still significant, temperatures, there is a significant demand for heat. Currently, this heat is predominantly derived from fossil fuels.

To achieve a CO2-free energy management system, it is crucial to transition from relying on heat generated from fossil fuels to implementing a smart renewable energy management approach. This can involve the use of technologies such as e-boilers, heat pumps, and green hydrogen. Additionally, industrial processes will be optimized for greater efficiency, and industrial heat will be reused whenever possible. Alongside the ultimate goal of a sustainable and circular industry, several parallel objectives are pursued to support this vision:

  1. Sustainable need of heat < 300 °C (20 MT CO2-reduction potential).
  2. Sustainable need of heat > 300 °C (12 MT CO2-reduction potential).
  3. Delivering flexibility in usage of sustainable electricity.
  4. New CO2-emissionfree production routes, seperation processes and concepts.
  5. Production of sustainable hydrogen against a competing price.

A sustainable energy management system

The innovations that are needed for a CO2-free energy management system can be categorized into four themes. Together, these lead to a more efficient energy management, in which renewable energy replaces fossil fuels:

  1. Reduce energy dependence. The availability of (sustainable) energy is limited. Reduction of the energy usage is, therefore, important for the affordability, trustworthiness and sustainability of the energy management. With this, bigger roles are designated to process efficiency and for flexibility, to match the energy need with the variable revival of renewable energy. The paper- and food industry, for example, use a lot of energy for the drying and draining processes of certain fabrics. Lots of efficiency can be gained by conceptually redesigning the evaporation process.
  2. Re-use energy. Large amounts of industrial heat are used on high temperatures. By re-using this heat - either within plant gates, or outside of them - the industry can operate more efficiently and even be a source of heat for the surrounding area. This way, heat can eventually be optimally re-used within the industrial plant, and afterwards be cascaded and used elsewhere - in, for example, surrounding buildings and homes.
  3. Replace energy carriers. A large amount of the current energy need will be replaced with electricity. Industrial processes electrifying, matter-of-factly, by for instance developing heat pumps which are resistant to much greater temperatures. When needed, renewable energy carriers can take over fossil ones. A fair share of these will exist out of climate neutral fuels, produced from renewable electricity or other sustainable sources (like biofuel).
  4. Produce electrolytic hydrogen production. Hydrogen carriers and hydrogen play an important role in the future - as fuel, raw material and supplier of buffer capacity and flexible assets. Currently, hydrogen production with electrolyzers is scaling up quickly. With this, new challenges arise: next to the cost reduction, for example, we also need to look at flexible usage and material intensity. This way, groundbreaking techniques, such as Solid Oxide Electrolysis, can be an addition to common electrolysis techniques.

Digitization plays a crucial role in all of these themes. Efficient data exchange and smart management are essential for achieving flexibility and fostering optimal collaboration between stakeholders. However, it also underscores the critical importance of cybersecurity to safeguard digital systems and infrastructure. Additionally, the availability of a skilled workforce is a significant factor in successfully implementing and advancing sustainable development within the energy management system.

Getting to work with industrial energy management

Innovations surrounding these topics will help the Netherlands on its way to a climate neutral and circular economy. The Innovation program offers help to businesses, knowledge institutions and others that wish to invest in this. Until now, there have been more than 180 projects set up surrounding sustainable industries.

Want to know more? You can read the entire Innovation program here: [link] Do you have any questions about the Innovation program, or are you seeking help, partners or funds to help you realize these innovations? Contact one of our program managers directly

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