Version 3.2

Electrochemistry, decarbonisation technologies and degrowth

Electrochemistry is positioned to play a crucial role in the transition towards a sustainable energy system and new multi-million funding programmes are established across Europe to support public and private research and innovation initiatives. The promise of electrochemical research lies in advancing the potential of a hydrogen economy through more efficient electrolysis, improvements to technologies like batteries for energy storage and fuel cells for electrical vehicles, and in solutions for the production of renewable hydrocarbons as feedstock for various industries.
Given that many of these industries like agriculture, transportation and healthcare will be necessary in a degrowth economy, their decarbonisation is considered an essential aspect for climate neutrality. Despite the increased traction of the electrochemical field and the extended research on the techno-economic models and energy efficiency there is little discussion on some critical issues around the use of electrochemistry for decarbonisation. These include environmental aspects like resource use and geopolitics, and socio-economic aspects like carbon lock-in, ownership and profit.
In this panel we therefore ask, what place can decarbonisation technologies have in a degrowth economy? And, accordingly, we wonder how current social processes of research and innovation (like funding structures, research programs and consortia) in the field of electrochemistry align with these goals. Overall in this panel we aim to discuss some of these aspects, brainstorm on if/how electrochemistry technologies can embrace degrowth values, how can we integrate these values in the early design phase, and ways to ensure that the use of electrochemistry will not serve private profit driven interests.
Through paper presentations and interactive discussions we aim to reshape the concept of “responsible innovation” from a profit-driven engine to a disruptive, agonistic and sustainable practice and to rethink the role of social and natural scientists, engineers and policymakers in the shaping of degrowth low-carbon technologies. The focus of the panel is on electrochemistry, however participants working on other relevant low-carbon technologies and on topics like use of rare metals, environmental justice, and degrowth values are invited.


Day: 2023-09-01
Start time: 10:30
Duration: 01:00
Room: ZV-8-10
Type: Special Session
Theme: Technology and science for degrowth


Concurrent Sessions