Register now! Decarbonising European industry and steel in the global context

Options and Strategies from recent research. Supported by results from the INNOPATHS Programme.

Event Information

  • Date: 8 July
  • Time: 9:00 – 11:30 (BST)
  • Registration: Register here

About the event

The climate goals agreed in the Paris Agreement, and the need for ‘net zero’ emissions to stabilise the atmosphere, cannot be achieved without decarbonising energy-intensive industry.  At the same time, in the UK and EU, many of these sectors, (first and foremost, the steel sector which accounts for over 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions), are struggling in a fiercely competitive, international business environment. In July, the EU will announce its proposals for decarbonising European industry, including a border carbon adjustment.

This webinar, a final outreach event of the major INNOPATHS research programme, will present results of substantial research on the potential and strategies for decarbonising energy intensive industries in Europe. It will also offer a detailed look at scenarios for steel, including the role of recycling and rapidly growing initiatives by some continental steel producers to develop novel, hydrogen-based steel production, and offer insights into the forthcoming EU “Fit for 55” package. A concluding panel will debate the prospects and strategies for the industry in the UK and EU.


09:00 – Welcome from the Chair
Michael Grubb, Professor of Energy and Climate Change, UCL

Opening Address: the Clean Energy Ministerial’s Industrial Deep Decarbonisation Initiative
Dan Dorner Head of Clean Energy Ministerial Secretariat, Paris

Industry decarbonisation overview from the Horizon 2020 project, INNOPATHS
09:30 – Introduction to INNOPATHS, ‘Innovation Pathways, Strategies and Policies for the Low-Carbon Transition in Europe’
Paul Ekins, Professor of Resources and Environment Policy, UCL

09:35 – The CO2 reduction potential for the European industry via direct electrification
Silvia Madeddu, PIK Germany

10:00 – Insight from INNOPATHS case studies
Paul Ekins, Professor of Resources and Environment Policy, UCL

10:15 – Q&A

The Steel Industry

10:30 – The European outlook for steel – current initiatives and prospects for deep decarbonisation
Lars J. Nilsson, Professor of Environmental and Energy Systems, Lund University

10:50 – Panel Discussion, chaired by Michael Grubb

  • EU policy – pricing and CBAM proposals – Milan Elkerbout, CEPS Energy, Resources and Climate Change Unit
  • The role of circular economy – Matthew Winning, Research Fellow, UCL
  • Respondent – Silvia Maddedu, PIK Germany

11:10 – Q&A

11:25 – Closing remarks from the chair

Find out more…

INNOPATHS final conference – register now!

“Innovation pathways, strategies and policies for the low-carbon transition in Europe” – 31 May & 1 June 2021

The partners of the Horizon 2020 research project INNOPATHS – Innovation Pathways, Strategies and Policies for the Low-Carbon Transition in Europe, are pleased to invite you to the project’s final conference. The event will be held online (Zoom) on Monday 31 May (10:00-16:15 CEST) and Tuesday 1 June (10:15-16:15 CEST).

The transition to climate neutrality in Europe will require deep structural changes to the full range of energy, economic and societal systems. These changes, and their economic, social and environmental implications, must be examined and understood if policy makers are to take the best decisions possible to achieve this overarching objective.

For the last four years, the INNOPATHS project’s partners have been working with stakeholders from government, academia and civil society to understand issues ranging from the dynamics of low-carbon innovation, policy frameworks and finance, to the implications for labour markets and equity from the transition. Using this knowledge, new, state-of-the-art low-carbon pathways for the European Union have been created and modelled. This final conference will share key insights from the project with a wider audience, and discuss their meaning and implications for Europe and EU member states in the coming years.

The conference will hold presentations and discussions on following topics:

  • Technology development and innovation dynamics; their policy and other drivers, and co-benefits
  • Decarbonisation and equity, with a focus on European labour markets and the broader social implications of the transition
  • Financing the transition; including the role of public funds, low interest rates and the European Green Deal
  • Key requirements and implications of our new pathways for a low-carbon Europe; and the differences implied depending on which pathway emerges from policy action and wider developments
  • Policy priorities and knowledge gaps; including a panel session with a series of European policy experts and practitioners, to conclude the conference.

The full programme is available on the Florence School of Regulation (EUI) website.

INNOPATHS researcher Professor Benjamin Sovacool warns of the dangers of decarbonisation practices

In a piece for SciDev.Net Professor Sovacool described how the developed world’s attempt to reduce its carbon footprint has led to environmental and public health risks, gender discrimination, child labour, and ethnic discrimination in the global South – the ‘decarbonisation divide’.

The Agbogbloshi waste site in Ghana has become a symbol of the global North’s wasteful electronics consumption practices. One 2017 study estimates about 215,000 metric tons of e-waste reaches Ghana every year. This number is expected to increase as a new generation of e-waste is developed to help the global North shift to a low-carbon economy.

Read the full piece here.

Read the decarbonisation divide article here.

Photo credit: Science in HD, Unsplash

INNOPATHS article featured in Research Highlights in Nature Human Behaviour and Nature Climate Change

An article published by INNOPATHS researchers Benjamin K. Sovacool, Andrew Hook, Mari Martiskainen, Andrea Brock and Bruno Turnheim has been featured in the Research Highlights sections of recent issues of both Nature Human Behaviour and Nature Climate Change. The article, The decarbonisation divide: Contextualizing landscapes of low-carbon exploitation and toxicity in Africa, analyses the ‘decarbonisation divide’ between low-carbon transition and patterns of waste extraction. The decarbonisation divide (Nature Human Behaviour) highlights the potential environmental and human cost of supply chains for low-carbon technologies, whilst Dark side of low carbon (Nature Climate Change) focusses on the analysis of the impact of the rising demand for low-carbon technologies on countries responsible for extraction of raw materials and disposal.

Read the Research Highlights here:

Read the full article online:

INNOPATHS holds a workshop for European policymakers

How might Europe achieve deep decarbonisation? The INNOPATHS project is using a process of stakeholder engagement and co-design to develop decarbonisation pathways for Europe to 2050 – each of which explores a different route to deep decarbonisation. On Tuesday 9th July the project brought together policymakers from across Europe to think through how decarbonisation

Will incumbent industries and infrastructures (like gas networks) play a big role in shaping technology choices, or will upstart newcomers disrupt and reshape the business landscape for energy? Will populist movements cause some countries to fall behind, while others press ahead towards net-zero, leading to a Europe with “two speeds” of decarbonisation? How might a “circular” or “sharing” economy change patterns of energy demand?  These are important issues for long-term energy strategy, and are explored through the narrative scenarios being developed within the INNOPATHS project. Each narrative highlights knowledge gaps, where more research might help, and each one highlights challenges for policymakers.

The workshop discussions helped the INNOPATHS team to further develop the narrative scenarios. The key aspects of these narratives will then be quantified using the project’s suite of integrated assessment and energy modelling tools, and then made available to explore via an interactive decarbonisation simulator. The final narratives—and associated modelling—will be completed in March 2020. Watch this space!

INNOPATHS holds Stakeholder Event: “Towards carbon neutrality, the perspective of investors”

On the 15th of May 2019, INNOPATHS held a large stakeholder event hosted by E3-Modelling in Athens, designed to examine the investment opportunities emerging from the transition towards a low- or zero-carbon economy.

The INNOPATHS project aims to understand the challenges of decarbonisation and the innovation needed to address them and present a detailed assessment of low-carbon technologies, their uncertainties, future prospects and system characteristics. The project also aims at creating new, co-designed deep decarbonisation pathways with novel policy and innovation processes and it puts emphasis on the societal, economic and environmental dimensions of the low-carbon transition and how they can be managed.

The project was presented by Professor Laura Diaz Anadon (University of Cambridge), Elena Verdolini (Senior Scientist, CMCC) and Professor Paul Ekins (UCL, INNOPATHS coordinator). The INNOPATHS online tools were presented in the conference; in particular the “Technology Matrix” tool which includes historic and projected characteristics, and associated uncertainty, of key low-carbon technologies and can be utilized to calculate the future costs of low carbon transition, and the “Policy Evaluation Tool” which presents key evidence-based characteristics of policy instruments and mixes to encourage the low-carbon transition. Professor Ekins presented the key findings of the High Level Panel on Decarbonisation pathways that proposes priority research to achieve deep decarbonisation in all economic sectors. He also pointed out the major innovative approaches of the INNOPATHS project. Professor Pantelis Capros (NTUA) presented the model-based analysis on EU low-emission pathways that fed into the European Commission strategy “A Clean Planet for all”. He showed that deep decarbonisation of the EU energy and economic system can be achieved through the upscaling of “no-regret” options (including renewable energy, energy efficiency, advanced biofuels, electrification of mobility) but it will also require the introduction of disruptive technologies, energy carriers and business models (including hydrogen, power-to-gas, power-to-liquids, use and storage of CO2, circular economy).

Professor Laura Diaz Anadon and Dr Elena Verdolini

In the second session of the conference, chaired by IENE’s head of Energy Efficiency committee, Costas Theofylaktos, a number of Greek energy market experts and company executives participated in a round table discussion on the current and future challenges of the energy sector. There, Mr. Polymenopoulos representing HELESCO highlighted the role of ESCOs in the improvement of energy efficiency of buildings. Mr. Polychroniou representing “DEPA, gas industry and renewable gas” analyzed the prospects of decarbonised and renewable gas in the deep decarbonisation context. Mr. Papastamatiou representing “ENTEKA wind energy”, one of Greece’s pioneering wind companies, addressed the licensing boundaries in RES projects noting the low success rate of wind projects, which affects indirectly electricity prices for consumers. He referred to the key market requirements for the acceleration of the energy transition, notably the development of coherent policies, the implementation of large-scale RES projects, the capacity increase of local and international interconnections and development of large-scale storage systems. Dr. Sotiris Kapellos, representing HELPE Renewables, and HELAPCO, the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies, addressed the issue of PV investments in Greece and called for the simplification of licensing procedures and a full implementation of EU guidelines for electricity market liberalization (Target model, Balancing of RES etc.). Dr. George Ayeridis (CRES, Electromobility) presented the prospects of electrification in the transport sector with high EV deployment combined with RES-based electricity. He also stated that EVs should be seen both as a market product and as a key part of the energy transition.

Professor Benjamin K. Sovacool authors Visions of Energy Futures: Imagining and Innovating Low-Carbon Transitions

INNOPATHS consortium member, Professor Benjamin K. Sovacool has authored a recent book entitled, Visions of Energy Futures: Imagining and Innovating Low-Carbon Transitions, that uses INNOPATHS initial work and findings.

This book examines the visions, fantasies, frames, discourses, imaginaries, and expectations associated with six state-of-the-art energy systems—nuclear power, hydrogen fuel cells, shale gas, clean coal, smart meters, and electric vehicles—playing a key role in current deliberations about low-carbon energy supply and use.

Visions of Energy Futures: Imagining and Innovating Low-Carbon Transitions unveils what the future of energy systems could look like, and how their meanings are produced, often alongside moments of contestation.

Read more about it here.

INNOPATHS initial findings presented at the 24th Conference of the Parties

Dr Elena Verdolini from the RFF-CMCC European Institute on Economics and the Environment and INNOPATHS Work Package Leader, presented initial results from the INNOPATHS project, explaining how this project aims to work with key economic and societal actors to generate new, state-of-the-art low-carbon pathways for the European Union. This presentation was part of a side event on ‘energy decarbonisation & coal phase out: financial, technological and policy drivers’ at the COP24 in conjunction with Carbon Tracker, WWF Poland and CEE Bankwatch Network.

This presentation was structured around three key INNOPATHS outputs. First, the “Technology Matrix”, an online database presenting information on the cost of low-carbon technologies and their performance, including both historic and current data, and future estimates. The key feature of this database is the collection of a wide variety of data from different data sources, and the computation of metrics to measure the uncertainty around values. The matrix will thus contribute to mapping technological improvements (and associated uncertainty) in key economic sectors, including energy, buildings and industry. It will show that many low-carbon technologies options are available in certain sectors, but also the specific technological gaps characterizing many hard-to-decarbonize sectors, including aviation, or energy-intensive manufacturing sectors such as chemicals and heavy metals. For these technologies, additional and dedicated Research, Development, Demonstration and Deployment funding will need to be a priority.

The second key output is the “Policy Evaluation Tool”; an online repository of evidence on the effect of policy interventions against key metrics, such as environmental impact (i.e. emission reductions), labour market and competitiveness outcomes. The tool will become a repository of evidence on what approaches and policy instruments work, or do not work, helping policy makers to understand how best to achieve various goals related to the energy transition.

The third key output are insights from INNOPATHS researchers focusing on the financing of the decarbonization process. First, similarly to the process of industrial production, financing costs benefit from “learning-by-financing”, as lenders develop in-house abilities and experience in the selection of renewable energy projects. Second, researchers focus on the importance that public investments can play in signaling change and promoting a shift of investments away from fossil and towards low- and zero-carbon technologies. In this respect, public banks are crucial actors, which can act as catalysts for private investments.

Find out more about the conference here.

Dr Elena Verdolini explains decarbonising the energy sector

CMCC and EIEE senior researcher Elena Verdolini explains how the energy sector, the largest producer of greenhouse gases, is surprisingly one of the easiest areas to decarbonise.

Electrification is growing fast as it becomes increasingly low-carbon or carbon-free entirely. Dr Verdolini explains how variability is a major obstacle to increasing the use of renewables and goes on to talk about the best ways to tackle the increasingly difficult obstacles this sector faces.

Read the full article here.


INNOPATHS consortium holds second all-partner meeting

The second all-partner meeting of the INNOPATHS consortium was held on 3rd – 5th September, hosted by the University of Cambridge. The meeting brought together representatives from all project partners from 8 European countries for three days of intensive, constructive discussions on progress within the project so far, and the future direction of the research. This included a review and demonstration of prototypes of the four original ‘interactive online tools’ – the Technology Matrix, the Policy Evaluation Tool, Interactive Decarbonisation Simulator, and Low Carbon Pathways Platform – each of which will channel different collections of results from the project research, and will seek to serve different purposes for their intended users.


In order to ensure that the research and the online tools (along with other research and their associated outputs) will best serve the needs of policy makers, civil servants, business and civil society, the second meeting of both the INNOPATHS External Advisory Board and the INNOPATHS Innovation and Exploitation Advisory Group also took place. Members of these respective bodies, drawn from the spectrum of stakeholder groups, provided insightful advice and guidance to the research team to maintain momentum and maximise policy relevance and we head towards the second half of the INNOPATHS research programme.