Few people have as much experience with renewable energy in North Africa and the Middle East as Paul van Son. He was the founding managing director of the Desertec Industrial Initiative (Dii) in 2009. In the past ten years, there has been a rapid drop in the price of green electricity from the desert. This has made states like Saudi Arabia rethink. In the meantime, the export idea has come to the fore again at Dii. This is entirely in line with Global Energy Solutions. Van Son, a market economist, is optimistic about the Middle East and North Africa. The region could become an “energy powerhouse” for the world. Read more
Schlögl's concept The Modern Forest works on the same principle.
Professor Robert Schlögl is, among other positions, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion in Mülheim an der Ruhr. He has been working on molecular energy sources for years. For him, a forest is a biological system that produces wood –from CO2, light and water. Schlögl’s concept The Modern Forest works on the same principle. However, the product is not wood, but methanol. Very much in the spirit of Global Energy Solutions. In the interview, Schlögl talks about how an energy transition with green fuels could come about and what framework conditions he would like to see for it.Read more
We come at it from the other side, the electric side, and make it smarter and more efficient.
In Austria, there is an exciting car prototype on display that fits the Global Energy Solutions concept. It is powered by an electric motor. The electricity comes from a generator. It is fed by an internal combustion engine that is fueled with e-methanol (green methanol). This makes the hybrid vehicle climate-neutral. Its hardware combines all the advantages of modern automotive engineering. However, the infrastructure for the fuel, e-methanol, only exists on paper so far. Initiator Frank Obrist believes that the two together make an interesting business case. Read more
The idea behind it: To produce synthetic fuels from wind, water and air alone.
It is a flat and barren land, says Markus Speith of Siemens Energy. “It’s impressive how strongly the landscape is shaped by the wind. The trees there really lean in one direction.” Speith has already been to Patagonia twice, in the extreme south of Chile. Construction work for the Haru Oni project is soon to begin on the land. The idea behind it is to produce synthetic fuels from wind, water and air alone. At the moment, however, there is hardly anything to be seen of it. In this grandiose landscape on the Strait of Magellan, which connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, mainly sheep graze. Read more
We know so much about the state of the climate and possible solutions
Klaus Töpfer has a global view. For eight years he was Executive Director of UNEP, the United Nations Environment Programme, in Nairobi. “We know so much about the state of the climate and possible solutions,” says Töpfer. “In that, hydrogen is most certainly and synthetic fuels and methanol and others are extremely significant.” According to Töpfer, the German government’s hydrogen initiative and the EU’s European Green Deal also speak for this. With existing knowledge, one can already act today. But it is just as important to push ahead with innovations. The search for solutions with the help of science is far from over. “We will be able to produce solar energy even more cheaply.” Read more
Of course, Germany has to act, but Germany alone is not enough
Of course, Germany has to act, but Germany alone is not enough. “We have to prove in our country that we have a technology that can enable CO2-free economic stability.” Töpfer pleads for science and industry dealing with energy and climate issues to be brought together and bundled. “Go to Tunisia, where a lot of research and work is being done in the field, especially in wind and solar energy. In Morocco it is comparable.” Töpfer knows the conditions from his own experience. “We will not be able to overcome the problems of the developing countries and especially Africa beyond the Maghreb by satisfying our needs there and producing hydrogen for ourselves. Read more
The climate-neutral combustion engine
“At the moment, journalists and the semi-informed think that the internal combustion engine must be abolished for the sake of the climate. But that is not at all compelling,” says Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Global Energy Solutions. “After all, if you take just as much CO2 out of the atmosphere or out of exhaust pipes, it is climate neutral.” At the same time, he advocates a synthesis of battery-electric and internal combustion engine vehicles. Von Weizsäcker sees the development of electric cars in China and California not motivated by the climate issue, but by the poor air quality in big cities. Read more
A solution for the demonized CO2
Christof von Branconi, Chairman of Global Energy Solutions, has built chemical plants in many parts of the world. He would like to contribute this experience to the work of the association. He argues from the perspective of companies: “We use the CO2 produced as a valuable material in combination with hydrogen to produce methanol. And by using methanol as a feedstock again afterwards, my company creates a circular economy that solves a cost problem for the company”. Read more
Industry partners and companies
Prof. Dr. Estelle Herlyn, member of the Executive Board of Global Energy Solutions, develops the vision of the association. She comments on the economic prospects of the proposed solutions: “This depends crucially on whether it is possible to produce renewable energy in huge quantities at low cost”. And she explains why sustainability is no longer a marketing issue for companies, but is now a key element of corporate strategy. She considers the availability of energy to be absolutely central – also in the sustainability discourse. Read more
The urgency of our problems gets things moving
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Franz Josef Radermacher, member of the Executive Board of Global Energy Solutions, explains the goals and strategy of the association in an interview. He describes the interaction of the building blocks of the global approach to solving the energy and climate crisis. And he explains why he considers the position to be promising: namely out of sheer necessity, because global warming is progressing unchecked: “I believe that we at Global Energy Solutions will present a consistent solution. And at some point, people will be glad to have access to it. Read more