Energy efficiency potentials in the EU industry: impacts of deep decarbonization technologies

Katerina Kermeli*, Wina Crijns-Graus, Rasmus Magni Johannsen, Brian Vad Mathiesen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


Increasing the energy efficiency in high energy demand sectors such as industry with a high reliance on coal, oil and natural gas is considered a pivotal step towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions and meeting the Paris Agreement targets. The European Commission published final energy demand projections for industry capturing current policies and market trends up to 2050. This Reference scenario for industry in 2050, however, does not give insights into the extent to which energy efficiency potentials are already implemented, in which sectors further efficiency can be achieved, to what extent or with which technologies. In this paper, the EU Reference scenario is broken down and compared to a Frozen Efficiency scenario with similar GDP developments but without energy efficiency. Through bottom-up analyses, it is found that with energy efficiency technologies alone, this Reference scenario for industry energy demands (10.6 EJ in 2050) cannot be achieved. That means that the EU Reference assumes higher energy efficiency than possible and too high an effect of current policies. In the Frozen Efficiency scenario, the energy demand reaches 14.2 EJ in 2050 due to the GDP development; 22% higher than 2015. Energy efficiency improvements and increased recycling can decrease industrial energy demand by 23% (11.3 EJ in 2050). In order to further reduce the energy demand, our analyses shows that the wide implementation of innovative in combination with electrification or hydrogen technologies can further decrease the 2050 energy demand to 9.7 EJ or 10.3 EJ, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Article number68
JournalEnergy Efficiency
Issue number8
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This paper is part of the sEEnergies project which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No 846463 ( ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


  • Decarbonization
  • Electrification
  • Energy efficiency
  • Hydrogen technologies
  • Industry
  • Scenario analysis


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