The continent is looking to ramp up its commitments to clean technologies in a bid to reduce emissions
Energy, industry and transport are three of the five economic areas that are key to the net-zero transition in Europe.
The continent, like the vast majority of the global economy, is looking to ramp up its commitments to clean technologies in a bid to reduce emissions and prevent the possibility of runaway climate change.
A number of European countries and the EU are aiming to be climate-neutral by 2050 – an economy with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.
A report by Capgemini Invent, part of the consultancy group Capgemini, lays out 55 technology quests – each of which are categorised into five economic areas – that can help accelerate Europe’s recovery and pave the way to climate neutrality.
Capgemini Invent’s CEO Cyril Garcia said: “The study describes how investments in next-generation clean technologies can accelerate Europe’s economic recovery and transformation from the bottom-up.
“It is a practical action plan and investment guide for policymakers and investors to stimulate an economic recovery at the speed and scale needed and set the EU on track to deliver on its vision of a climate-neutral economy by 2050 that is prosperous, modern, secure and competitive.”
Here, NS Energy breaks down the five economic areas highlighted in the report.
Five economic areas key to net-zero transition in Europe
Energy accounts for 72% of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions, as fossil fuels provide 73% of energy consumed on the continent, while renewables account for only 14% despite their rapid growth in recent years.
The energy projects highlighted in the report include building giga-scale manufacturing capacities of new generation solar modules, developing renewables and electrolysers to scale up low-cost green hydrogen, and to repurpose Europe’s gas grids for biomethane and focus them on industry needs and dense urban areas.
By 2030, Capgemini’s energy technology quests could deliver a €152bn ($178bn) total market (turnover + investments) per year, 2.3 million permanent jobs, and 460 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent (MtCO2e) could be avoided annually.
Industry is responsible for 30%, or 1,201 MtCO2e, of the 27 EU member states’ greenhouse gas emissions, either from energy use or from direct emissions from processes.
Some of the key suggestions for industry include reducing the need for concrete thanks to better design and alternative concrete for equivalent usages, industrialise the use of carbon capture and usage to deliver ultra-low carbon cement production, and switch to low-CO2 fuels for high-grade heat industry processes.
The industry actions noted in the analysis could deliver a €216bn ($253bn) total market per year in 2030, alongside 2.2 million permanent jobs, and 269 MtCO2e avoided every year.
The building sector is one of the most significant CO2 emission sources in Europe, with 1,026 MtCO2e, including 387 MtCO2e direct emissions from 221 million households.
The list of projects highlighted include a deep renovation of residential buildings, as well as automating, digitising and streamlining construction process and methods for renovation and new build – and to permit a massive electrification of heat with low-cost heat pumps.
Over the next decade, the building sector strategies could lead to a €245bn ($287bn) total market per year, 4.5 million permanent jobs, and 355 MtCO2e avoided annually.
Transportation in its many forms currently produces over 1,200 MtCO2e per year – about 30% of total emissions in the EU – as liquid fossil fuels drive most air, marine, road and rail movements.
Capgemini’s report notes scaling up green c-liquid e-fuel production for aviation and long-distance shipping, alongside develoing faster, cheaper, more convenient technologies for EV charging, and supplying the European automotive industries with “made in Europe” lithium-ion batteries as some of the key transport actions to consider.
These steps could deliver €111bn ($130bn) total market a year by 2030, 1.1 million permanent jobs, and 128 MtCO2e avoided every year.
Food and land use
The European agro-sector generates 471 MtCO2e over the whole value chain – which is about 12% of total European greenhouse gas emissions – mainly from soils nitrification, enteric fermentation and manure management.
The food and land use projects suggested include transforming European agriculture with sustainable farming techniques, developing and testing prototypes to capture methane and other gases emitted by cattle, and promoting tasty, affordable and low-emission alternatives to meat and dairy products.
By 2030, Capgemini envisions the highlighted food and land use actions could lead to a €66bn ($77bn) total market per year, one million permanent jobs, and 119 MtCO2e avoided each year.