To meet the EU's goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, a host of new technologies will need to be introduced and scaled up in order to decarbonise the energy, transport, heavy industry, buildings and agriculture sectors.

French consultancy Capgemini has taken a deep dive into what needs to be done and come up with a list of 55 “technology quests” — everything from floating wind to ammonia-fuelled ships and insect protein — that it says will not only help Europe meet its carbon-free target, but also boost the continent's post-Covid economy.

Notably, nuclear power, nuclear fusion and blue hydrogen derived from methane with carbon capture and storage (CCS) are all absent from the list.

The 55 chosen technologies are “ripe for financial support, offering attractive long-term returns and, together, help form a roadmap to climate-neutrality... [and] can stimulate new markets worth some €13trn over two decades, and secure up to 12.7 million jobs by 2030 — both by creating new jobs, and by transforming existing jobs”, says Cyril Garcia, chief executive of the Capgemini Invent unit.

He describes the company’s 160-page report, Fit for Net-Zero, as “a practical action plan and investment guide for policymakers and investors to stimulate an economic recovery at the speed and scale needed, and set the EU on track to deliver on its vision of a climate-neutral economy by 2050 that is prosperous, modern, secure and competitive”.

The 55 “technology quests” are as follows, broken up by sector:


1) Giga-scale manufacturing capacities of new generation solar modules: Build gigafactories based on perovskite and III-V multi-junction high efficiency cells by 2030
2) Generate 30% more electricity per square metre with bifacial solar panels: Large-scale bifacial solar plants and gigafactories
3) More large-scale floating offshore wind: Unlock 80% of Europe’s offshore wind potential through a rapid scale-up of new generation
4) Large-scale hydrogen production at €1.50/kg by 2025-30: Develop renewables and electrolysers to scale up low-cost green hydrogen
5) Biomethane design-to-cost industrialization to drive economies of scale: Create six large-scale competitiveness hubs and reduce costs by 30% by 2025
6) 24/7 availability of electricity from combined solar generation, storage and grid: Build trans-Mediterranean grid and electricity daytime baseload with concentrating solar power (CSP)
7) Exploit all European pumped storage capacity: Retrofit existing hydro-plants for pump storage
8) Build competitive leadership in electricity storage for stationary use: Develop viable short- and long-duration storage alternatives to Li-ion battery
9) Digital everywhere at customer, production and grid levels to smartly solve availability and intermittency: Flexibility along the whole smart energy value chain across Europe at all spatial and temporal scales
10) Reinforce electric grids for 100% renewable power: Develop grids, high-voltage direct-current, storage and innovative technologies to build a robust grid for all Europe 11) Transform gas grids into a new multi-focused resource: Repurpose Europe’s gas grids for biomethane, H 2, and CO 2 and focus them on industry needs and dense urban areas
12) Massively deploy heating and cooling networks to reduce fossil fuel dependency in European cities and help optimise electric grids: District heating and cooling can leverage thermal storage, thermal efficiency and energy sourced from geothermal, renewables and waste to help improve air quality, reduce noise and curtail heat islands

13) Cost-effective and energy efficient CO2 air capture at scale: Direct air capture to simplify and ease the energy transition challenge


14) Reduce the need of concrete thanks to better design and alternative concrete for equivalent usages: New concrete and better use in construction
15) Replace the use of concrete with carbon sink materials in new build: Lower the climate impact of buildings with wood and alternative concrete
16) Reduce share of Portland clinker in cement and develop new alternative clinkers: Low-greenhouse gas (GHG) and new cements
17) Industrialise the use of carbon capture and usage to deliver ultra-low carbon cement production: CCU solutions for cement industry
18) Hydrogen reduction of iron ore for basic oxygenated furnaces and electric arc furnaces: Use green hydrogen from renewables and electrolysis to decarbonize steel industry
19) Electrowinning of iron ore for electric-arc furnaces: Electrifying iron ore reduction to shift iron ore usage from high-GHG blast-furnace (or basic-oxygenated-furnace) integrated steel plants to low-GHG electric-arc furnace plants
20) Reuse process gases and capture CO2 to lower emissions of steel integrated plants: Recycle and reuse process gases in the blast furnace and basic oxygenated furnace with carbon capture
21) Scale onsite green hydrogen production in refineries: Shift from fossil-based H 2 to decarbonised H 2 for feedstock usage
22) Switch to low-CO2 fuels for high-grade heat industry processes: Co-processing of waste and biomass in furnaces (from 300° to over 1000°C)
23) Switch to low-CO2 solutions for low-grade heat industry needs: Recovery from high-grade heat waste, high-temperature heat pumps, bioenergy, geothermal energy, symbiosis heat networks
24) Implement massive electric efficiency program for all European industrial plants: High-efficiency motors, equipment and services along with digital and Industry 4.0
25) Reduce GHG impact of refrigerants: Mainstream the use of low-GHG refrigerants in all sectors
26) Reduce GHG impact of plastic through reuse and recycling: Develop technology solutions to increase circularity of plastics


27) Deep renovation of residential buildings: Programmes to increase the energy performance of renovations and increase the rate of renovations to cover 100% of the European building stock, starting now 28) Develop next-generation equipment to increase performance of deep renovation: Next-generation, easy-to-use and low-cost equipment such as vacuum insulation panels and windows, phase change materials, aerogels, PV windows and PV facades and smart sensors 29) Deep renovation of public buildings: Public exemplarity through procurement programs to reach the required level of performance of the public building stock (administrative buildings, hospitals, educational buildings) 30) Automate, digitise and streamline construction process and methods for renovation and new build: Overhaul construction sector's obsolete renovation models to reduce costs, lighten the disturbance of occupants and increase renovation rate
31) Massive electrification of heat with low-cost heat pumps: Multiply the number of installed heat pumps and bet on synergies with the electric vehicles industry to launch low-cost heat pump factories 32) Develop next-generation buildings allowing ultra-low consumption and fully flexible energy management: Highly autonomous buildings based on onsite storage facilities (hydrogen, thermal storage, geothermal, batteries), heating pumps and smart energy management


33) Scale up green e-fuel production for aviation: Establish giga-scale production facilities in industrial clusters and transportation hubs for jet biofuel and synthetic kerosene derived from green hydrogen
34) Scale up green e-fuel production for long-distance shipping: Establish giga-scale production facilities in industrial clusters and transportation hubs got biofuels and synthetic methanol derived from green hydrogen
35) Scale up green ammonia production and logistics infrastructure for long-distance shipping: Green ammonia and energy production facility at large ports
36) Deploy ammonia-fuelled vessels for long-distance shipping: Retrofit existing vessels to shift from fossil fuel combustion engines to ammonia fuel-cell propulsion engines
37) Shift short- and medium-distance ferries to hydrogen fuel-cell propulsion: Retrofit existing ferries to shift from fossil fuel combustion engines to H₂ fuel-cell propulsion engines
38) Develop hydrogen usage for heavy-duty road freight: Deploy hydrogen refueling stations along the key pan-European road corridors
39) Shift European truck industry to hydrogen: Develop EU-based production of fuel-cell heavy-duty trucks, buses and waste vehicles
40) Transition fossil-powered intercity trains to hydrogen: Develop and deploy urban/suburban hydrogen-powered trains
41) Electrify short-distance trucking, waste collection and urban bus fleets: Low-GHG, silent and clean air city transportation: last-mile logistics, public transport and services
42) Foster private EV charging infrastructure to ease adoption of short-distance e-mobility: Massively deploy charging points at private homes and offices
43) Foster public EV charging infrastructure to ease adoption of short-distance e-mobility: Slow to fast charging for urban areas and ultra-fast charging deployment projects along major transit routes
44) Develop faster, cheaper, more convenient technologies for EV charging: Lever European R&D to invent disruptive charging solutions that will be highly competitive on global market
45) Supply the European automotive industry with "Made in Europe" Li-ion batteries: Li-ion battery gigafactories to serve the increasing e-mobility market and develop jobs and know-how in Europe
46) Create 100% circular battery economy in Europe: Establish an extensive network of battery collection and recycling facilities to lower the GHG footprint of batteries and re-use precious resources
47) Stimulate the development of next-generation battery technology for mobility use: Lever European R&D to invent disruptive alternative battery technologies to Li-ion and invest in gigafactories to manufacture these new solutions
48) Build new urban multi-modal transport systems for easy door-to-door journey planning, experience and payment: Public-private platforms leveraging AI, data and end-to-end payment business models, and reinforcement of physical mobility equipment and infrastructure
49) Lever shared autonomous vehicles to reduce the number of cars in an increasing number of European cities by 30%: Large scale deployment of automated vehicles in shared fleets and public transport

Food and land use

50) Transform European agriculture with sustainable farming techniques: Experiment and develop science-based conservation agriculture and sustainable farming systems to cut farming costs and emissions 51) Harness the power of agriculture 4.0: Boost the use of digital solutions to increase productivity while lowering GHG emissions, moving from 5% front-runner farmers to broad application 52) Reinforce plants and boost crop resilience to use less emissions-intensive fertilizers and inputs: Customized microbial fertilizers production on-site and biostimulants to foster plant growth and carbon capture under abiotic stress 53) Tap into the potential of insects for fast-grow feedstock proteins: Bring to commercial scale insect-protein production facilities and build routes to market 54) Capture methane and non-CO2 GHG emissions from cattle: Develop and test prototypes to capture methane and other gases emitted by cattle 55) Promote tasty, affordable and low-emission alternatives to meat and dairy products: Large-scale production and receptive markets can massively cut greenhouse gas emissions associated with conventional animal products

The full report can be accessed here.