NEFI+: Innovation boost for the climate-neutral transformation of industry

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In Vienna, the innovation network ’NEFI - New Energy for Industry’ p
In Vienna, the innovation network ’NEFI - New Energy for Industry’ presented its new and unique innovation laboratory NEFI+, which will specifically drive technological development towards the climate-neutral transformation of industry in Austria. in the picture from left to right. Christoph Brunner (AEE Intec), Dorian Wessely (Business Upper Austria/NEFI), Wolfgang Hribernik (AIT/NEFI), Thomas Kienberger (Montanuniversitšt Leoben/NEFI), Bernd Vogl (Climate and Energy Fund), Bernhard Gahleitner (AIT/NEFI), Christiane Egger (Energiesparverband O÷/NEFI), Urban Peyker (Climate and Energy Fund), Isabella Plimon (BMK), Andreas Kugi (AIT) (Copyright: APA/Mirjam Reither) Translated with DeepL.com (free version)
New Energy for Industry launches new innovation lab NEFI+ for a climate-neutral industry with six innovation hubs



In Vienna, the innovation network "NEFI - New Energy for Industry" presented its new and unique innovation laboratory NEFI+, which will specifically drive technological development towards the climate-neutral transformation of industry in Austria. In close cooperation with over 120 partners, NEFI has set new standards in this area over the past five years. Motivated by the results achieved so far, NEFI+ is now starting with six innovation hubs and is acting as a catalyst for the development of projects that contribute to the transformation of industry as part of the RTI initiative "Transformation of Industry".

The close collaboration between industry and research over the past five years has produced key results for further technological developments. "The new NEFI+ innovation lab is now acting as a catalyst to get the projects and technologies for a climate-neutral industry in Austria off the ground," says Climate Protection Minister Leonore Gewessler. "We will be investing over three billion euros in the coming years - reliable funding for the major transformation of our industry. We are swapping fuels - coal and natural gas are coming out, green electricity and hydrogen are coming in. This will secure our competitiveness, make us independent of Russian natural gas and protect our climate."

The importance of the innovation laboratory for the industrially strong federal states is emphasised by Markus Achleitner, Upper Austrian Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy: "The transformation of the energy system poses a major challenge for manufacturing and energy-intensive industries. At the same time, there is a great opportunity for technology providers to expand their market position worldwide. Upper Austrian technological innovations can make a significant contribution to securing the industrial location. With NEFI+, we are therefore accompanying and supporting the development of energy technologies that contribute to climate protection and sustainability and increase the competitiveness of the Upper Austrian economy."

Styria is also relying on the innovation potential of NEFI+. "Styria is not only a strong industrial state, but also an outstanding research state. Our high level of expertise in the field of green technologies will be of particular benefit to us in the decarbonisation of industry. After all, climate protection and economic success can and should go hand in hand. With strong partnerships within the framework of NEFI, we will also be able to achieve this," said Styrian Minister of Economic Affairs Barbara Eibinger-Miedl.

"Achieving climate neutrality and thus the energy transition is a mammoth task that requires everyone to pull together. Industry is a key partner here because it has enormous potential to accelerate the transformation," emphasises Styrian State Councillor for Climate Protection and Energy Ursula Lackner. "This is clearly illustrated by the example of VoeST. 2When its two electric arc furnaces go into operation, this will reduce Austria-wide CO emissions by five per cent. We achieve such innovations through the targeted development of technically relevant technologies for climate-neutral production. The province of Styria is supporting NEFI+ in order to further strengthen this innovative power and secure competitiveness and thus sustainable jobs in our region."

"With our RTI initiative for the transformation of industry, we are helping industry to convert its energy system to renewable energy sources and to cope with the high costs of converting its production processes. We want to show that climate-neutral production in Austria is technically and economically feasible and prepare for broad implementation in the market with specific projects," says Bernd Vogl, Managing Director of the Climate and Energy Fund.

NEFI+ innovation lab with six innovation hubs

"With the NEFI scenarios for a climate-neutral industry, we have demonstrated the basis with concrete paths for the transformation of the industrial energy system. Now we need to seize the opportunity to close the technological gaps and show what industry can actually implement and test. Specifically, we will further develop these scenarios in six innovation hubs in the NEFI+ innovation lab, identify innovative solutions and carry out a comprehensive impact assessment to evaluate the actual effect," says Thomas Kienberger, Head of the NEFI+ innovation lab and Head of the Chair of Energy Network Technology at Montanuniversitšt Leoben.

The NEFI+ innovation lab is a specialised network that connects all key players and focuses on the relevant technology paths for a climate-neutral future with six innovation hubs. 2The topics are electrification & energy efficiency, flexibilisation, CO -neutral gases and hydrogen, carbon capture & storage, circular economy and industrial symbiosis. Each hub is led by two respected Austrian research institutions, which develop significant and practical research and demonstration projects together with industrial partners. Initial structures for the development of the hubs have already been established and interested partners from industry and research are invited to contribute project ideas to the development of high-quality research and innovation projects within the framework of NEFI+. The innovation network expects this to provide an enormous boost to innovation for the transformation of the industry and this collaboration will enable synergies to be utilised and innovative solutions to be realised efficiently.

The third international scientific NEFI conference will take place in Vienna on 24 and 25 October 2024. Among other scientific contributions and discussions, the NEFI+ innovation lab will be presented during the two-day event. Registration and information at www.nefi.at/de/nefi-­konferenz.

About the NEFI+ innovation lab

NEFI+ is the new innovation laboratory of the Climate and Energy Fund’s RTI initiative for the transformation of industry. Important practical research and demonstration projects for a climate-neutral industry are being developed in six hubs. The innovation network NEFI-New Energy for Industry, with the network partners AIT Austrian Institute of Technology, Montanuniversitšt Leoben, O÷ Energiesparverband and the Upper Austrian location agency Business Upper Austria, is implementing the development of the innovation hubs with its infrastructure, expertise and existing networks. Significant support comes from the two industrially strong federal states of Upper Austria and Styria. The Climate and Energy Fund’s RTI initiative for the transformation of industry is part of the Climate Protection Ministry’s overarching climate and transformation campaign "Transformation of Industry".