Exploring a fossil-free industry. Production within the carbon budget

This study, commissioned by Natuur & Milieu, presents a forward-looking vision of fossil-free Dutch industry in 2037. The industry will then be entirely based on renewable energy, using secondary raw materials (from recycling) and sustainable bio- and synthetic resources.

In the report, we explore what the transition to fossil-free means for the energy-intensive industry in the Netherlands. The report shows that it is technically possible to achieve a fossil-free industry by 2037. Because this requires drastic changes in energy and raw material supply, the industry will look different than it does today. Processes will have to focus on energy conservation, circularity and electrification. Much of the industry will be able to continue in its current form, provided the production facilities are converted so that the process becomes fossil-free. The focus will shift from basic industry to less energy-intensive forms of industry, such as manufacturing, recycling and the food industry. More semi-finished products will be imported. The production of high-quality materials and goods that are too heavy and therefore too expensive to transport over long distances will also still take place in the Netherlands.

Much needs to be done, and quickly, to realise this transition: alternative technologies need to be scaled up, energy infrastructure built, renewable energy and raw materials made available, plants converted and factories built. This is not feasible without appropriate policies. In the study, we describe what this timeline could look like and identify a number of policy options that could be considered.