Competence Centre

Mission statement

The Competence Centre on Climate Change Mitigation in Energy-Intensive Industries (KEI) provides support and funding for the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions to energy-intensive industries in Germany.

The Centre’s work focuses on producers of basic materials such as steel, chemicals, cement, lime, non-ferrous metals, glass, paper and ceramics, as well as other relevant parts of energy-intensive industries with process-related emissions. High greenhouse gas emissions present these producers with particular challenges to achieving the goal of net zero by 2045, as recently enshrined in German law.


The Competence Centre is a division within Zukunft – Umwelt – Gesellschaft (ZUG) gGmbH commissioned by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU). Headquartered in Cottbus (around 100 km south of Berlin) the Centre actively contributes to structural development in the Lusatian region.

A motivated team of experts in various technical and economic disciplines provides qualified and specialised support to partners in manufacturing as they engage in this demanding and complex transformation.

The work of the KEI is supported by an Advisory Council that offers input for the Centre’s thematic development and orientation. The Council also ensures transparency and the involvement of relevant interest groups.

Project sponsor

The German Federal Environment Ministry has tasked the KEI with supporting the ‘Decarbonisation of Industry’ funding programme. This programme aims to help German manufacturers become both sustainable and fit for the future. Not least because, in energy-intensive industries, boosting energy efficiency will not be enough in itself to achieve climate-neutral production by 2045. This target can only be reached with full-scale reductions to process-related emissions as well as fossil fuels. On the production side, the transformation of production technologies and process flows will usually be needed. The resulting electrification of process steps and the greater use of hydrogen will drive significantly greater demand for electricity and hydrogen that must be provided by climate-neutral supply systems running on renewable energy.

As project sponsor, the KEI supports the development and rollout of mature technologies for the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions to German industries. For technical project assessments, the Centre works closely with the German Environment Agency (UBA).

Think tank

The transformation of energy-intensive industries is a huge and complex challenge whose knock-on effects along the value chain are felt in many other areas of the economy. Therefore, alongside its focus on the manufacturing sector, the Competence Centre also works with government and research, as well as the general public.

For this group of actors, the KEI offers a platform for interdisciplinary, industry-wide dialogue. This helps to consolidate and transfer the knowledge needed for decarbonisation so as to accelerate innovation. The Competence Centre also works together with research institutions in the future ‘Decarbonisation of Industry’ cluster with the aim of contributing solutions to achieve net-zero manufacturing.

To support technical dialogue with industry partners on issues related to decarbonisation, the KEI cooperates regularly with many partners to host the KEI Technical Forums and the KEI Podium, as well as other formats. Dialogue with interested members of the general public is organised as a programme of talks (‘Cottbus Talks’). This event programme is organised jointly with the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg (BTU).