One of the characteristics of the greentech sector is its diversity: Sustainable technologies are used in almost all industries – and the spectrum ranges from very specific, application-oriented solutions to comprehensive topics such as recycling. They can all be grouped into six lead markets:
From niche topic to growth sector
Greentech and cleantech provide cross-industry answers to the greatest challenge of our time: climate change. The industry focuses on sustainable technologies and solutions to address environmental problems, reduce the ecological footprint and thus enable economic growth in healthy ecosystems. The focus is on renewable energies, energy efficiency, waste management, water management and sustainable mobility.
At 14 percent, Germany has a major share of this trend-setting future market, which will more than double in volume from 2020 to 2030. This is thanks largely to numerous companies in NRW: At the biggest greentech location in the Federal Republic, global players and up-and-coming startups together generate almost one-fifth of Germany's total environmental economic output. The dynamic development of recent years shows the enormous potential in the region.
Greentech not only produces a highly qualified workforce. It also opens up new, sustainable prospects for the long-established industrial location. The broad research landscape continues to drive this growth engine. There is practically no other sector in which science and business are so closely intertwined.
As the hydrogen region of the future, the Ruhr Metropolis is a location with great innovative strength in the middle of Europe, offering industrial companies and the entire greentech sector the best possible conditions: with an outstanding infrastructure, a diverse research landscape and excellent networks. The Ruhr region has also been the perfect location for thyssenkrupp Steel for more than 200 years and with our decarbonization project tkH2Steel we are advancing the transformation to the green steel industry of the future here.
€ 27.9 billion
Around 20 percent
Industry diversity through strong lead markets
Energy, raw materials, and materials efficiency
How can resources, especially non-renewable resources, be used as efficiently as possible? What are the sustainable alternatives? These questions are particularly relevant to the energy industry – for example, when it comes to energy-efficient production processes, buildings or transportation.
The circular economy aims to share, reuse, repair, refurbish or recycle materials and products for as long as possible. This includes waste collection, transportation and separation, material and energy recovery, and environmentally sound landfilling. The circular economy helps conserve resources by reusing recyclable materials or converting them into green energy through waste-to-energy recycling.
Transport is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, alternative propulsion technologies and fuels from renewable resources are in demand. Issues such as intelligent traffic control and the development and expansion of infrastructure are also becoming increasingly important. With its densely populated centers and extensive network of railways, waterways and airways, NRW has great potential in this area.
Sustainable water management
As climate change progresses, water is becoming an increasingly scarce resource. It is therefore more and more important to use it efficiently – for example by expanding the water network – and, above all, to make it usable through (wastewater) treatment.
Environmentally responsible generation, storage and distribution of energy
The energy transition is one of the greatest challenges of our time. The shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources and the search for solutions to store, transport and distribute this green energy offer many opportunities for innovative companies.
Sustainable agriculture and forestry
A conscious approach to nature includes promoting healthy forests and sustainable agriculture. Healthy ecosystems also contribute to climate resilience. Modern technologies for managing forests and fields, and the judicious use of fertilizers, pesticides and animal feeds, play an important role.
Long-established companies and innovative strength
World market leaders, hidden champions, startups: In no other federal state is the industrial landscape as dense, diverse and innovative as in NRW. Here, the experience and resources of renowned companies meet the fresh ideas of ambitious founders – ideal conditions for a dynamic sector like greentech.
Attractive expansion location for top international companies
NRW's greentech sector has a charisma that extends far beyond the state's borders. Thanks to its optimal location factors, the state attracts numerous international companies from all over the world, including some well-known big players who want to profit from the dynamic market environment.
Innovation sites pool expertise
Innovative companies and a large pool of highly qualified specialists: Both come together in NRW's greentech sector and inspire each other. The state's extraordinarily dense educational and research landscape, with some 70 universities, produces numerous young talents who enter the job market with new ideas. This close and international networking of science and industry creates incubators for sustainable innovations in NRW.
Starting in 2024, the Euref Campus in Düsseldorf will bring together startups and companies from the fields of energy, sustainability and mobility. The site at the state capital's airport is to become a European energy forum. The exposed location with 80,000 square meters of office and event space offers the best conditions for this. The project is the second of its kind in Germany after the Euref Campus Berlin.
Not far away, in Wuppertal, companies and startups from innovative technology sectors can settle: The Smart Tec Campus Wuppertal, with a 19,000-square-meter area at the highest point of the city, attracts IT companies with a focus on areas such as artificial intelligence, among others. Thanks to the industry-oriented environment, they can expect a wide range of networking opportunities within the greentech competence cluster.
The photographic material was kindly provided by
© mauritius images, Getty Images
© thyssenkrupp Steel Europe AG
© AdobeStock, peach_fotolia
© NRW.Global Business, Jan Tepass
© Adobe Stock, Miha Creative
© Shutterstock, Kekyalyaynen
© Adobe Stock, malp
© Getty Images
© Shutterstock, Vladimir Mulder
© Shutterstock, Wisarut pumipak
© Envelio GmbH
© Shutterstock, Zapp2Photo
© Shutterstock, Petair
© Shutterstock, Kitreel
© Bast Fibre Tech
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North Rhine-Westphalia has long since ceased to be just the land of heavy industry and staid SMEs. In a dynamic environment of excellent research clusters, innovative startups, world market and industry leaders and globally active SMEs, a federal state has developed that stands for economic success in Germany like no other. Whether e-mobility, cyber security, Industry 4.0 or biotech or medtech: In NRW, people are already working on the future.