Mapped: transition paths towards 2050

Carbon circular and low in CO2 by 2050: that’s the challenge facing the energy-intensive industry in Flanders. To make this challenge concrete, an expert consortium led by Deloitte presented a roadmap study/context analysis commissioned by VLAIO, the Flemish Agency for Innovation & Entrepreneurship. This study maps potential transition paths for the industrial climate transition and formulates associated policy recommendations. Moreover, the study also forms a benchmark for the Moonshot Research Trajectories. Catalisti, the spearhead cluster for Flemish chemical and plastics sector and host of Moonshot, actively contributed to this study.

The industrial climate objectives of the Flemish government are ambitious: a Flemish industry that is carbon circular and low in CO2 by 2050. To make this ambition concrete, Flemish minister for Economy and Innovation Hilde Crevits and VLAIO commissioned an expert consortium led by Deloitte to map potential transition paths for the Flemish industry based on a roadmap study/context analysis. In addition to Deloitte, VUB-IES, AMS and Climact also participated in the study, with support from the Wuppertal Institute.

Transition paths for chemicals, petrochemicals and steel

Over the past year, the expert consortium researched possible trajectories of the industrial transition, with a focus on promising technologies. This way, the path towards 2050 is being mapped in concrete terms.

The study, however, does not provide ready-made solutions, but emphasizes that industrial efforts are mainly needed in the following areas:
  • use of biomass as a feedstock or as an energy source
  • circular use of plastics through mechanical and chemical recycling
  • transformations of processes via electrification and the direct use of H2
  • capture and (re)use of emitted CO2 (CCS/CCU)
Depending on a number of breakthroughs and conditions, a CO2 reduction of 80 to 90% could be possible by 2050. In this context, particular attention is paid to the chemical, petrochemical and steel sectors. Together, these sectors account for 90% of Flemish industrial CO2 emissions that fall under the EU ETS system for emissions trading.


The study’s conclusions clearly underline the importance of the Moonshot initiative. The study confirms the research trajectories as outlined by Catalisti at the start of Moonshot, yet also identifies some points for improvement.

From climate ambition to action

In recent years, the energy-intensive Flemish sectors have already significantly reduced their CO2 emissions. Between 2005 and 2019, emissions in these sectors decreased by 11%. In the chemical sector by almost 27%! This effort will have to be intensified in the coming years. In addition to existing technologies, there is a need for thorough and disruptive innovation in new CO2-reducing technologies.

Moonshot stands ready to support the climate transition of our sector through collaborative innovation projects. Together with industries, knowledge partners and the Flemish government, we will translate climate ambition into action. – Jan Van Havenbergh, managing director Catalisti