Where are the promising energy-efficient technologies? A comprehensive analysis of the German energy-intensive industries
Energy efficiency is considered a key element in sustainable development. The diffusion speed of new technologies will critically determine the improvements in energy efficiency. Thus, the goal of our analysis was to analyse the impact of new technologies on the energy demand of energy-intensive industry. In a first step, we identified about 200 promising technologies that we further assessed in an extensive literature review, but also in contact with technology and firm experts. We made use of a bottom-up energy demand model in order to quantify the available saving potentials. For the whole industry, we found a saving potential of 14 % until 2035, compared to the energy demand in a frozen efficiency scenario for the same year. This translates into 50 PJ (~14 TWh) for electricity and 213 PJ for fuels. The largest share of this potential was calculated to be cost-effective. 113 saving options even showed a payback time of less than 3 years (for 2020). However, many of the analysed technologies have been available for years, but their diffusion is still slow. Consequently, we also analysed the presence of barriers by making use of expert interviews. We found that companies had very strict expectations of payback time, often less than two years. Furthermore, a number of different barriers were identified many of which are technology-specific, 1. The paper is based on a study (Schlomann et al. 2011) funded by the German Environmental Agency. While others depend on the company size. The different types of barriers and saving potentials shall help policy-makers to match energy efficiency policies with the availability of saving potentials. We particularly focus on the timeframe the technologies need to diffuse through the technology stock - and the potentials need to unfold.