Perspectives for digitising energy-intensive industries - findings from the European iron and steel industry
Industry has to contribute substantially to the low-carbon transformation if carbon dioxide reduction targets of 80 % to 95 % are to be met. Energy-intensive industries like the steel industry play a major role in this transformation since energy-intensive industries account for about 75 % of total industrial carbon dioxide emissions (e.g. IEA, 2009). Digitalisation or Industry 4.0 might substantially affect the way the steel industry operates. Digitalisation could strongly affect production processes, it might lead to fundamental changes in the use of labour and it might turn upside down the structure of entire companies. Visions for factories of the future include concepts such as one site - one tablet - one worker, zero-waste-production and complete recycling. Such major changes are likely to affect energy efficiency, as well. Studies on the current state and future implications of digitalisation in the steel industry are scarce. This contribution reviews policy activities, R&D projects and activities as well as patents in the field of digitalising the European steel industry. The contribution concludes with a qualitative impact assessment of digitalisation's impact on energy efficiency.