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Chemical industry aims to become climate-neutral by 2045

The German Chemical Industry Association (VCI) presented solutions on Wednesday on how the industry can achieve climate neutrality.


Around 80 experts from politics, business and society were involved in the climate protection platform "Chemistry4Climate" (C4C) and worked for two years on the question of under what conditions the chemical and pharmaceutical industry in Germany can become climate neutral by 2045. The resulting study "Chemistry4Climate" was presented by the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI) at an event in Berlin. The results are now to be used in an exchange with politicians and society to pave the fastest possible way to a greenhouse gas-neutral chemical industry, the association said. The study reportedly shows three exemplary scenarios for a climate-neutral chemical industry in 2045. In all of them, more carbon must be kept in the cycle through increased recycling. In addition, depending on the scenario, a climate-neutral chemistry would require large amounts of electricity from renewable sources (up to 510 terawatt hours/TWh), green hydrogen (up to 210 TWh), biomass (up to 28 million metric tons) and carbon dioxide (up to 52 million metric tons). In order for the transformation to succeed, the experts involved are convinced that a "massively accelerated expansion of renewable energies and an ambitious hydrogen ramp-up, including the corresponding infrastructure," are required. In addition, the immense demand for electricity could be reduced by up to 180 TWh, which would roughly correspond to Germany's entire electricity generation from photovoltaics and wind in 2022. According to the C4C study, the demand for hydrogen could also be halved and the investment requirements of industry significantly reduced if secondary raw materials such as biomass or plastic waste were made available to them on a preferential basis. In addition, carbon dioxide will be urgently needed in the future as a raw material in the chemical industry, and the material use of the gas should now be made possible quickly and with legal certainty. And in order to quickly obtain investment security for new technologies, the study says, industry needs a competitive transformation electricity price in the short term.
The Chemistry4Climate initiative, which is sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection, was launched jointly by the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI) and the Association of German Engineers (VDI). VCI Chief Executive Wolfgang Große Entrup (pictured on the left next to Michael Kellner, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection, on the right next to himDieter Westerkamp, Director VDI), explained the value of the platform's work: "The total transformation of our energy-intensive industry to climate neutrality is incredibly complex. The conditions that need to be met for the mammoth task to succeed are far from being in our hands alone. The concentrated know-how from Chemistry4Climate should now help make our country a role model for competitive green technologies of the future."

Further information: to download the short and long versions of the C4C final report (in German)



  • VCI press release (April 27, 2023)
  • Photo: © VCI/Simone M. Neumann

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