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There are no quick fixes to long-term energy challenges. To find solutions, governments and industry benefit from sharing resources and accelerating results. For this reason the IEA enables independent groups of experts - the Energy Technology Initiatives, or ETIs1.

Industrial Technologies and Systems

Video observation of the dry slag granulation process in a pilot reactor.*

Zooming in on heavy industry 

Policy context
The industry sector currently accounts for 27.3% of the world’s energy use and is thus responsible for a significant share of global CO2 emissions (22.6%). Improving industrial energy efficiency offers the most cost-efficient measure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Energy efficiency improvements are possible in heavy industries such as iron and steel, cement, petrochemicals, chemicals, pulp and paper, aluminium, and food processing. Raising awareness of the financial and environmental benefits of these improvements must be balanced against the additional investments required to implement changes. Fiscal and financial policies and measures designed to support heavy industry are an important first step.

The aims of the ETI focusing on efficiency in the industrial sector (IETS) are to accelerate the research and share the results of cost-effective new industrial technologies and system configurations that increase productivity and product quality while improving energy efficiency and sustainability. IETS currently focuses on the energy-intensive process industries and technologies, but is moving to expand research into other industrial sectors and to facilitate cooperation between different industrial research disciplines. There are eight Contracting Parties.

Integrated steelmaking is complex, involving a series of industrial processes and producing a number of by-products, including excess process gases which are used to create electricity. Gaining a better understanding of the complex processes and energy intensity of the steel industry will improve efficiencies and reduce greenhouse emissions, currently responsible for 6% to 7% of CO2 emissions worldwide.

The aims of the IETS project, Development and Use of Process Integration in the Iron and Steel Industry, are to advance the application of process integration1 as a method to reduce energy consumption and lower greenhouse gas emissions in the steel sector. Applying process integration in the steel industry is a relatively novel approach that is rapidly evolving. 

As a result, communicating the methods and results to industry stakeholders who are unfamiliar with the advantages of the apporach will be a challenge. For this reason, IETS holds workshops to bring together a cross-section of steel companies, research institutes and universities.  

One example of process integration includes the relationship between fluid dynamics and energy recovery.  One particular pilot reactor includes a high-speed video camera that provides insight into the rate of dry slag granulation in the steelmaking process.

Outcomes of the project include a network of experts in the sector, a database of proven technologies, and a guidebook. 

1. Process integration refers to system-oriented methods and integrated approaches to complex industrial process plant design. 

Image courtesy of Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (Australia). 

Current projects

  • Application of industrial heat pumps
  • Development and use of process integration in the iron and steel industry
  • Energy efficiency in SMEs
  • Energy efficient separations systems: methodological aspects, demonstration and economics
  • Energy efficient drying and dewatering technologies
  • Industrial excess heat recovery 
  • Industry-based biorefineries
  • Membrane technologies 

For more information: 


1.Information or material of the IEA Energy Technology Initiatives, or ETIs (formally organised under the auspices of an Implementing Agreement), including information or material published on this website, does not necessarily represent the views or policies of the IEA Secretariat or of the IEA’s individual Member countries. The IEA does not make any representation or warranty (express or implied) in respect of such information (including as to its completeness, accuracy or non-infringement) and shall not be held liable for any use of, or reliance on, such information.