Electrification for decarbonisation of industry
Collaboration for the climate is happening.
Striking a balance between economic growth, social progress, and climate change
News on climate change is everywhere we turn. Meanwhile, demand for the materials, goods and services that represent the largest shares of CO2 emissions today continues to rise. Yet positive progress is happening. For example Vattenfall is forming partnerships with other sectors and businesses in all our markets to contribute to global climate goals.
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 by 83 million people, and by 2050 it is estimated that we will reach 10 billion people.
Meanwhile, people will keep moving to cities – 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 railways for our trains and more batteries for our electric cars and mobile 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 is 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 past 30 years, the annual cement production has quadrupled which means it has gone from nearly 1 billion to over 4 billion tons a year. The last decade also saw a 40% increase in global steel demand, of which 95% was sold in China alone. And despite the global debate on plastics, demand has doubled about every 20 years and global production has gone from 1.5 million tons in 1950 to 322 million tons in 2015.
Focussing where it matters most
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 each accounted for 32% in 2016, agriculture for 13% and power and heat for 9%. Steel production accounts for 7% of today’s global carbon emissions and concrete for 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 decarbonise industry and transport
At Vattenfall, we aim to offer all customers climate smart energy and to enable a life free from fossil fuels within 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 effective ways forward to develop new solutions so that we can increase efficiency and reach international climate goals by eliminating some of the major sources of CO2 emissions. Electrification and fossil-free hydrogen are the keys to success.