Germany

germany

Germany is an export-oriented nation with a strong manufacturing industry and well established eco-innovation areas and markets. Since 2013 the Germany’s performance in the Eco-innovation Scoreboard has dropped by one place and ranks fourth in 2014-2015. This is mainly attributed to a downshift in the socio-economic and resource efficiency outcomes. Germany performs particularly well in the subcategories eco-innovation patents and exports of products from eco-industries.

With respect to a circular economy, Germany is characterised by very good waste infrastructures and recycling rates. The present focus on technical waste management and end-of-life measures is simultaneously signalling further demand for innovative waste instruments at the interface of material cycles and new business models. A first step was taken by introducing the Waste Prevention Programme in 2013. A strengthening of the regulatory framework and a better alignment of responsibilities, competencies and approaches towards a circular economy seem important for the increase of secondary input rates and a closing of the loops. The demand for high-tech and waste technologies is expected to remain high in the world and–as one of the market leaders– Germany has a strong standing in exporting innovative waste management solutions.

The German green tech sector is expected to further develop dynamically. The early implementation of the Renewables Energies Act (in 1991) and the introduction of the German Resource Efficiency Programme (ProgRess) in 2012 serve as important and drivers for energy and resource efficiency, eco-innovation and the energy transition in Germany.

The framework conditions for innovation are generally well developed and include both supply and demand-side instruments while there is a pronounced reliance on voluntary and informational approaches at the consumption side. An eco-innovation action plan is under development. Nevertheless, Germany will probably not meet its sustainable development strategy targets for raw material and energy productivity, energy consumption, biodiversity, land use, mobility and farming .

2015 Eco-innovation Scoreboard ranking and eco-innovation index composites for Germany

Germany

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Strip casting technology

Strip casting allows the casting of new, high-manganese steels, by achieving energy and carbon dioxide savings in comparison to conventional technologies. Due to the low casting thickness, it is possible to save up to 75 percent during casting, heating and rolling. Apart from providing advantages in the manufacturing processes the steel casting process allows improvements in the utilization phase (e.g. increasing safety of vehicles).

Barriers and Drivers
Barriers: There are still some risks regarding commercial implementation, because of the necessary upscaling and longer hours of operation. Experience with such technology has just been collected on a laboratory scale in Clausthal. Also the new steel may not outweigh its advantages (up to now, no cost estimates have been published for a future series production).

Drivers:  The Belt Casting Technology requires six times less material than a conventional continuous casting plant. Also 2.1 gigajoule per ton of hot rolled steel can be saved compared to the typical manufacturing process of flat steel by using the combination of strip casting and steckel-mills. Even 2.7 gigajoule per ton of steel can be saved by using the strip casting and in-line rolling. Furthermore, cooling water does not come in direct contact with the product, which allows to use a closed water circuit.

Environmental Impact
According to the manufacturers` data, 25000 tons of high-performance steel can be produced by 2012. If these amount would be used in the automotive manufacturing , 160.000 cars could be built. While less steel is needed for each car, resulting in reduced weight, a reduction of fuel consumption of these cars is possible.
In addition, this technology provides the potential to substitute conventional steel products.

Further Information

www.salzgitter-flachstahl.de

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Eco Innovation in Practice in Germany

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