German-Austrian Technology Forum Deals With Change Towards Sustainable Economies

More+Events ♦ Published: October 3, 2022; 13:27 ♦ (Vindobona)

The question of industry in a more sustainable world has been a key issue in business for many years. Now, the German Chamber of Commerce in Vienna organised an event that invited industry representatives to discuss the shift towards sustainable business.

The event highlighted the key role of industry on the road to climate neutrality. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / Jürgen (Guerito) / CC BY 2.0 (

The German Chamber of Commerce in Vienna recently hosted an event that brought together German and Austrian representatives to discuss the shift towards sustainable business.

The event, which was held under the motto "Transformation.Ecology.Potential", took place at the Hotel Andaz Vienna Am Belvedere and highlighted the key role of industry on the road to climate neutrality.

Leading industry representatives spoke on the podium, from Volkswagen to Phoenix Contact and Kreisel to Festo and BASF. More than 130 participants exchanged views on the global challenges of digital transformation and climate change.

The opening keynote on the opening evening was held by Thomas Schmall-von Westerholt, Chief Technology Officer of Volkswagen AG. The mobility world will change fundamentally by 2030: emission-free e-drives and fully connected, autonomously driving vehicles.

With the areas of battery, charging infrastructure and vehicle components, VW is realising essential parts of the strategic transformation. "By 2025, we will already have 50 per cent of our employees working in e-mobility." The battery factor, which is still dominated by Asian suppliers, is essential, he said.

Global energy demand is expected to increase by up to 50 per cent. "Many companies are already taking significant steps towards climate neutrality and the energy transition," emphasised Professor Wilfried Sihn, Managing Director of Fraunhofer Austria Research and moderator of the forum, citing Festo as an example.

"We want to reduce CO2 emissions by 25 percent by 2030, and we are investing EUR 4 billion to achieve this," reported Katja Scharpwinkel, President Region EMEA. Electrically heated steam crackers are to be used for the production of basic chemicals such as ethylene and propylene; a demo plant is being built in Ludwigshafen. From 2025 onwards, the group wants to recycle about 250,000 tonnes of recycled raw materials annually.

Univ.-Prof. Karl Rose of Graz University of Technology addressed hydrogen, which has been discussed for some time as a patent solution for the substitution of fossil fuels in applications with high energy density. "Where renewable electricity or biofuels are not sufficient, it is an alternative. However, the EU must move away from relying solely on green hydrogen."

That is not economically justifiable, he said. To replace Russian gas, he expects the use of coal to increase in the coming years. In the medium to long term, the regenerative path will certainly be followed successfully, Prof. Rose is certain.

DHK Deutsche Handelskammer in Oesterreich