Flanders faces a unique challenge in transitioning towards a carbon circular and carbon smart industry. Flanders is a highly developed, densely populated and intensively industrialized region. At present, most of its industries are energy-intensive and deeply dependent on non-renewable raw materials. To ensure a sustainable shift by 2050, existing industries will have to be converted and new industries will have to be created. The Moonshot initiative seeks to support Flanders’ industry innovation and transition towards a carbon circular and carbon smart industry.
The Flemish Industry in Facts and Figures
In 2016, industrial sectors accounted for 36% (27.9 million ton of CO2 equivalent), or more than a third, of all greenhouse gas emissions in Flanders (77.7 Mt CO2 eq).
Energy-intensive industries in Flanders, which fall under the scope of the EU emissions trading system (EU ETS), represented 80% of these Flemish industrial emissions (22.4 Mt CO2 eq).
On a sectoral level, the refining, chemical, iron & steel sectors accounted for almost 90% of Flemish industrial emissions covered by the EU ETS in 2016 (19.2 Mt CO2 eq).
Approximately 86% of industrial greenhouse gas emissions originate from carbon dioxide or CO2. It is acknowledged as the most important industrial greenhouse gas in Flanders.
As the Flemish refining, chemical, and iron & steel sectors are a significant source of CO2 emissions, these three sectors are the main target of the Moonshot initiative. Over the last few decades, these target sectors have already dramatically reduced their own CO2 emissions and helped other companies reduce theirs through new product and/or process development. In future, the refining, chemical, and iron & steel sectors will remain critical to achieve a sustainable shift.
The refining, chemical, iron and steel industries occupy a central position in the Flemish industrial landscape. Their large range of products is used in almost all downstream sectors (e.g. for the production of lightweight transport materials, installations, insulation materials for homes, transport fuels, etc.).
Yet, in order to achieve a sustainable shift by 2050, their engagement has to be extended to other sectors as well. Starting from these three target sectors, new value chains and new business models can be created. Synergies with downstream sectors can be exploited (including textiles, paper, food, logistics, non-metallic minerals, etc.) and positive spill-overs can be maximized.
In short, cross-sectoral cooperation beyond the three target sectors will be indispensable to make the Flemish industry carbon circular and low in CO2 by 2050.