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Materials are the building blocks of society

Industry energy consumption represents almost 40% of current global total final consumption and is still dominated by fossil fuels, in particular coal. It is the second largest emitting sector after power generation. As the global economy and population grow, so does demand for materials and goods, increasing the importance of understanding which technologies and strategies can support the sustainable manufacture, use and disposal of indispensable commodities.

Key findings

Industry direct CO2 emissions in the Net Zero and Announced Pledges scenarios, 2000-2030


Direct industrial CO2 emissions declined modestly in 2018, but need to fall faster

Direct industrial CO2 emissions, including process emissions, declined 1.6% to 8.7 Gt CO2 in 2020, in large part because of a slowdown in industrial activity in some regions due to the Covid-19 crisis, but likely increased in 2021. To align with the Sustainable Development Scenario, industry emissions must fall by 1.2% annually to 7.4 GtCO2 by 2030 – despite expected industrial production growth. Many industrial sectors are among the hardest to decarbonise, due to the long lifetimes of many industrial facilities and because many of the needed technologies are not yet commercially available.

Greater material and energy efficiency, the uptake of renewable fuels, and development and deployment of low-carbon process routes (including carbon capture and hydrogen) are all critical. Governments can accelerate progress by reducing risks associated with developing new technologies and adopting mandatory CO2 emissions reduction and energy efficiency policies.
Our work

The IETS TCP focuses on energy use in a broad range of industry sectors with significant potential for emissions and cost savings. The IETS TCP work programme ranges from aspects relating to development of processes and energy technologies, to overall system analysis and energy efficiency in industry sectors.

Through multi-disciplinary international collaborative research and knowledge exchange, as well as market and policy recommendations, the SHC TCP works to increase the deployment rate of solar heating and cooling systems by breaking down the technical and non-technical barriers to increase deployment.

The SolarPACES TCP supports collaboration to advance development and deployment of concentrating solar thermal technologies. From a system perspective, concentrating solar power (CSP) offers significant advantages. With built-in thermal storage, CSP can improve the flexibility and stability of power systems, provide dispatchable electricity and help integrating more variable renewables.