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Andreas Lier (BASF) on the Green Deal – how industry and energy sector can work together

17 July 2021

Andreas Lier has been the Managing Director of BASF România since 2019, and since June 2021 is the president of AHK Romania, the Romanian-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He joined the 7th edition of the Energy Strategy Summit, an event organized by Energynomics, as one of the keynote speakers, on June 21st, when he shared an industry perspective on the challenges and opportunities related to energy and Green Deal.

“It is from the perspective of BASF a world-leading chemical company that I speak today. BASF has worldwide more than 300 production sites, and our site in Ludwigshafen, Germany, is the largest chemical area in the world. Energy is an important topic for us; besides steam, a significant amount of electricity we consume. Only at this site, we use 1% of the entire German demand for electricity.

The need for a balanced approach between economy and environment is clear. We have the responsibility for our earth and our children’s generation for a cleaner environment and organizing all activities sustainably.

The Green Deal comprises a policy agenda that covers many areas, from CO2 neutrality, circular economy, smart mobility and many more.

No other continent has a comparable vision and agenda like the EU with the Green Deal. It is a century challenge. It will be quite a transition. Ursula von der Leyen likes to call the Green Deal: “Europe’s Man on the Moon Project”.

We have to be clear. The slogan “Green Deal” comprises an agenda that will have an impact on every part of our lives. What we eat, how we travel, what products we produce, how we produce, how we build and of course how we power our homes, our cars and our production sites, which energy we use – all these will change fundamentally.

On all these topics, there are draft laws to be worked out later this year and in the future, in Europe.

BASF is fully committed to the EU Green Deal, to sustainability, to circular economy and new forms of reliable energy. We currently see a paradigm shift from a linear economy towards a circular economy and new forms of energy.

It’s really the century of opportunities and challenges. Only if done right, the EU Green Deal opens up the chance for Europe in the global competition to receive an advantage.

All around the world, the need for sustainable innovations is huge and companies draw complete new strategies. This is where and why the chemical industry plays a key role. We make innovations and with this we enable sustainability. But we have to understand the political and social requirements for the industry are huge. For the chemical industry for example we see 4 major transformations at the same time:

  • Our industry should become greenhouse gas neutral
  • It should become digital
  • It should become circular
  • It should become free of harmful substances

Please let us not forget in other parts of the world companies continue to produce during this transition time. The Green Deal and this transition can only succeed if our industry and the energy companies remain strong and competitive – strong enough during this transformation to compete with companies outside Europe. The strengthening of competitiveness is critical to the success of the EU Green Deal.

One of the most important components is cheaper green electricity and energy in significant quantities.

BASF develops technologies for climate-neutral chemical production. We are fully committed to the concept of sustainability. One example is ChemCycling®, BASF’s chemical recycling project that turns plastic waste into raw materials (pyrolysis oil). This replaces fossil feedstock in the Verbund and is used to produce new products, especially new plastics.

Another success story is that BASF and RWE plan to cooperate on new technologies for climate protection. We are planning the construction of one of the world’s largest wind farms in the North Sea. This is a significant project for the future. With this, our steam cracker – the heart of chemical production – will be driven basically by windmills.

Coming to Romania, Romania offers a perfect production environment for green hydrogen for example – with wind farms, solar parks and water energy. The involvement of different stakeholders to create networks and state support by funding could support the transformation of the energy system. Romania has a great chance to power its industry with green energy and also export this green energy / hydrogen in significant quantities.

The existing strong gas sector can play also an important role during the transition and for the EU industry in the coming years to reduce the CO2 emissions. A strong Industrial policy and a regulatory framework are needed to make the EU Green Deal a success.

In the coming years, we will see significant changes and we need to act now. Climate, environmental, industrial policy, and supportive measures must be developed together and implemented. Policies must focus on being supportive and creating coordinated framework regulations on the EU level and in Romania. And everyone has to act quickly – so that industry can act.

The EU Green Deal requires a whole new way of working together between politics, industry, and society along with the right instruments. We want to encourage everyone to be part of this discussion and move in this direction.

The EU and Romania can receive an advantage globally when we do it right. There was no better time than now with the significant resilience and recovery funds and other instruments.

The change is happening now, let’s do it together: energy sector, industry, politics and society!”

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