The Trial of Destiny


The Trial of Destiny
© touchedbylight


This column is entirely factual, and any similarity to the title of a certain movie released recently is absolutely intentional.

Against a backdrop of volatile energy prices, stricter emissions legislation and higher awareness of the effects of climate change, Europe’s manufacturing industry faces an ever-greater challenge to reduce energy consumption and emissions. To do this, it must focus on switching to modern and renewable energy solutions, as well as sustainability and eco-efficiency.

Manufacturing drives the continent’s economy. It provides more than 20% of the European Union’s GDP and 20% of all jobs in the bloc across 25 industrial sectors. Any gains that can be made in reducing energy use will be significant.

Manufacturers of the EU’s mass-produced commodities have already implemented technologies, control systems and measures to reduce primary energy consumption and plant emissions. But they need to target the most energy-intensive links of the production chain to achieve further significant gains.

For instance, some industrial processes use conventional electric furnaces. These are often inefficient, highly carbon dioxide-intensive in life cycle terms and mostly very expensive to operate. This is even more worrying for essential products, like cement, ceramics and steel, which are made with such furnaces. 

Any energy price hikes, as we have seen over the past two years, will drive up the cost of these products, which are raw materials for other industries, as well as infrastructure projects. That will have a profound economic impact across Europe.

Therefore, manufacturers and particularly energy-intensive industries are exploring new, more sustainable and efficient ways of producing that reduce their high dependency on conventional fuels for high-temperature feedstock processing. With this in mind, new methods to improve the current industrial heating processes could be a clear opportunity to cut costs and emissions.

A consortium of 14 industrial and engineering companies and research institutions is exploring microwaves as an alternative to conventional furnaces. The project, named “Destiny,” could cut energy demand by 30%, decrease carbon dioxide emissions by more than 40% and reduce sulfur oxide and nitrous oxide emissions. 

The Destiny technology is undergoing trials at sites in Spain and Germany. Fully electric and modular, the Destiny microwave kiln could reduce energy-intensive industries’ dependence on fossil fuels and contribute to reaching the Paris Agreement goals.

It could all be for nothing unless the EU can accelerate its plans to switch to renewable energy. Brussels’ climate goal is to lower net greenhouse gas emissions by 55% until 2030 from 1990 levels. To help achieve this, in March the EU reached a provisional deal to increase renewable energy targets to 42.5% by 2030, up from 32%.

This is all the more urgent because of Russia’s ongoing occupation of Ukraine. Now under embargo, Russian gas was a key component in Europe’s energy mix, and the EU’s REPowerEU plan aims to rapidly reduce dependence on Russian fossil fuels.

“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” is the fifth installment in the more than 40-year franchise and Harrison Ford’s last appearance as title hero. Meanwhile, the Trial of Destiny is a novel, first of its kind, high-temperature microwave processing system that could be a paradigm changer in industrial applications, maybe even including lubricant and grease manufacturing in the future.

STAY SuSTAYnable! 

Apu Gosalia is a sustainability expert. He can be reached at

Related Topics