On the path towards a climate-neutral future with a globally competitive industry sector, a key role is set aside for carbon-based fuels and chemicals. Only by combining carbon capture, utilisation and storage with efforts to replace fossil fuels with biomass and a switch to the use of recycled resources will we be able to achieve the net-zero targets. The need for transformation poses a particular challenge to the chemical industry. Alternative resources are needed for the production of polymers, plastics and man-made textile fibres in order to put chemical value chains on a sustainable footing. This provides great business opportunities. By reacting early to the growing demand for sustainable products and to regulatory and economic climate incentives and by developing climate technologies for worldwide customers, North Rhine-Westphalia and its diverse chemical sector can be a trailblazer.
With this in mind, we must put in place the proper framework conditions and funding schemes for transformation, and streamline our licensing and approval regime. With the State Government Carbon Management Strategy, we have adopted guidelines for the sustainable handling of carbon. A variety of measures, such as the ‘CCU-Model Regions in NRW’ grant competition, is designed to assist the transformation towards low carbon industry. Our ‘Synthetic Fuels’ action programme highlights the significance of synthetic fuels and chemicals en route to climate neutrality and the good prospects this entails for our role as a refinery and industry hub.
We are keen to implement these ideas and would like to invite you to join us in the quest for a climate-neutral future. After all, it is our intention to turn North Rhine-Westphalia into Europe’s most modern and climate-friendly centre of industry. For this, we need investment and innovation, exchange and cooperation. On that note, let me wish all those who take part in the Conference on CO2-based Fuels and Chemicals some new and inspiring insight as well as many interesting encounters.
Professor Dr Andreas Pinkwart
Minister of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalization and Energy
of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia