Electrification for industry decarbonization

Balancing economic growth, social progress and climate change is a difficult task. But it is necessary.

Just as the deadline for avoiding disastrous consequences from climate change moves closer, demand for the very materials, goods and services that stand for the largest share of CO2 emissions today continues to rise. That’s why Vattenfall is forming partnerships with other sectors and businesses to contribute to global climate goals. We have already started in Sweden, but we are looking for partnerships in all our markets. 

The broader picture

Today we live longer, healthier and wealthier lives than ever before and the world continues to grow at an unprecedented rate. In fact, every year the world's population increases with 83 million people, and by 2050 it is estimated that we will reach 10 billion.

Meanwhile, people will keep moving to cities, and within 30 years 68% of us are expected to live in urban areas. Because of this, the extraction and production of materials will need to continue in order for us to construct more apartment buildings, more railroads for our trains and more batteries for our electric cars and cell phones. At the same time, more people will need to transport themselves, and more and more goods will need to be shipped to consumers across the world.

It’s not difficult to understand that a larger population will consume more. However, the challenge in limiting the climate impact from energy production remains. Less evident, but just as important, is the footprint of today’s society: concrete, steel and plastic. The production of these materials is highly carbon intensive and emits large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere every year. And demand shows no signs of slowing down.

Over the last 30 years the annual cement production has quadrupled which means it has nearly gone form 1 billion to over 4 billion tons a year. The last decade also saw a 40% increase in global steel demand, 95% of which in China alone. And despite the global debate on plastics, demand has doubled about every 20 years and the global production has gone from 1.5 million tons in 1950 to 322 million tons in 2015.

We are forming partnerships in different fields and industries to reach climate goals.

Urgent need to decarbonize industry and transport

Industry, along with transport, stands for the largest share of global emissions today. One third of global energy consumption comes from transport and in 2016, the transport sector contributed 27% of EU greenhouse gas emissions. In Sweden, domestic transport and industry stood for 32% each in 2016, agriculture for 13%, and power and heat for 9%. Steel production accounts for 7% of today’s global carbon emissions and concrete 8%. In Sweden, iron- and steelmaking stands for 36%, minerals (including cement) for 19%, refineries for 16%, and pulp and paper for 9%.

Electrification as a means to decarbonize industry and transport

At Vattenfall we aim to offer all customers climate-smart energy and to enable a life free from fossil fuels within the time frame of one generation. For this to happen we work together with other sectors and businesses where electrification can be a means to eliminate or reduce CO2 emissions to reach climate goals like the Paris Agreement.

Partnerships with industry are an effective way forward to develop new solutions so that we can increase efficiency and reach international climate goals by elimination of some of the major sources of CO2 emissions. Electrification and fossil free hydrogen are the keys to success.

Vattenfall’s current industrial partnerships to reduce CO2 emissions

Current Vattenfall’s partnerships with Swedish mining and iron ore company LKAB, high-strength steel company SSAB, refinery and fuel company Preem and cement company Cementa, part of Heidelberg Cement Group, can potentially reduce Swedish CO2 emissions by 30 per cent. Vattenfall is actively searching for more collaborations also in other markets than Sweden.

Related content

Cementa and Vattenfall have conducted a pilot study on electrified cement production.

Vattenfall has launched a joint venture named HYBRIT with companies LKAB and SSAB.

See also

Our efforts to reduce CO2 emissions are very comprehensive and diverse.

Vattenfall is investing in a greater share of renewable generation.

Vattenfall's strategy originates from our purpose to Power Climate Smarter Living.