Message from the Minister, Mona Neubaur, to the ‘Conference on CO2-based Fuels and Chemicals 2023’

It is the most important project in our time: with crisis after crisis stacking up, we need to embark on the transition to climate neutrality and sustainability, paving the way and speeding up things. North Rhine-Westphalia must become Europe’s first climate neutral industrial region.

This is a huge challenge to the chemical industry in particular, which has always been relying on the use of fossil resources – in terms of both energy and material – to create the basic substances needed in the production of everyday goods, food and medicines, resulting in the emission of enormous quantities of greenhouse gases.

The combination of rapidly rising prices for fossil fuels and continuing supply constraints is acting as a catalyst for the inevitable transformation of the sector. The use of renewable energy sources, hydrogen and alternative products is becoming more and more profitable whilst circular production techniques and business models are gaining popularity. Those who today bank on resource conservation, sustainability and green technology have opted not only to embrace the key challenge of climate change but also for the best way to ensure economic viability.

The chemical industry has the unique opportunity to benefit from the creative reuse of unavoidable quantities of carbon dioxide. By utilising CO2 to produce synthetic fuels or chemicals, the industry will not only contribute to a significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. It will also manage to secure its own resource base and competitive edge in the green markets of the future.

When it comes to the all-hands-on-deck project of transforming the economy, the combination of entrepreneurial and political determination will enable us to properly focus the upcoming reinvestment efforts with a view to implementing the circular and sustainable economy as soon as possible.

Dialogue and cooperation are crucial to the success of any joint ventures, and especially those as important as this big challenge to humankind. On that note, I would like to wish the participants of the Conference on CO2-based Fuels and Chemicals a whole lot of extra insight and food for thought, and may it motivate you to push ahead with the transformation.