About us

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 German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK). 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 Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action 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.

To support technical dialogue with industry partners on issues related to decarbonisation, the KEI cooperates regularly with many partners to host the KEI Expert Forums and the KEI Podium, as well as other event formats.

Cluster Decarbonisation in Industries (CDI)

The KEI also works together with other institutions in the Cluster Decarbonisation in  Industries with the aim of contributing solutions to achieve net-zero manufacturing. The initiators are the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg (BTU), the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Energy Infrastructures and Geothermal Systems IEG, the Institute of Low-Carbon Industrial Processes at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the KEI. The KEI also operates the CDI Coordination Office in Cottbus.

Event series at KEI

Cottbus Talks – A programme of public events on industrial climate change mitigation

The ‘Cottbus Talks’ is a series of public events organised jointly by the Competence Centre on Climate Change Mitigation in Energy-Intensive Industries (KEI) and the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg (BTU). The series of events offers interested citizens a dialogue platform on site in Cottbus where they can inform and exchange ideas on issues of climate protection, greenhouse gas reduction in the energy-intensive industry and the associated opportunities as well as effects on change in the Lusatia region.

KEI Expert Forums – Digital dialogue on core topics for energy-intensive industries

The KEI Expert Forums regularly bring together experts from German industry to work together on the complex task of the transformation process towards greenhouse gas neutrality. Against the backdrop of decarbonisation, innovative and current specialist topics are discussed in the digital dialog format. The event series has so far been held exclusively in German.

With the ‘Decarbonisation of Industry’ funding programme in mind, the KEI Expert Forums address ongoing open questions and put them up for discussion. With targeted input, the KEI supports companies in the energy-intensive industries in Germany in transforming their ideas for decarbonisation into projects eligible for funding. To this end, external speakers are invited to contribute insights on key industry-specific issues and discuss these with the forum attendees.

KEI Podium – Industry-wide dialogue on decarbonisation

As a supplement to its Expert Forums, the Competence Centre uses the KEI Podium as an interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral platform to discuss topics affecting energy-intensive industries. Alongside direct dialogue relating to these issues, the event series also addresses knowledge sharing for both technical and non-technical aspects of industrial decarbonisation. The aims is to address relevant topics as a whole in order to stimulate innovations for greenhouse gas reduction in energy-intensive industries in Germany.