Dubai 1st Interview with Katherina Reiche

On 10 and 11 November, the 11th Dii Desert Energy Leadership Forum took place in Dubai. There, GES had the opportunity to interview Katherina Reiche, Chair of the National Hydrogen Council. “I am convinced,” she says “we need all colours of hydrogen. Because the demand in Germany alone will be so big in the late 2020s and early 2030s. We see a hydrogen demand of 57 terawatt hours that we can’t meet from our own sources.” Therefore, says Reiche, Germany should “remain open to new ideas and innovations. And not define too early what we want to find in 20 years’ time”. In this sense, Katherina Reiche advocates not only green but also blue and turquoise hydrogen. No region in the world can develop a hydrogen economy on its own. Especially in the MENA region
(Middle East, North Africa) there are excellent investment opportunities. Investments that run into the billions. With these sums, security and regulatory framework conditions are needed for the investments.

Electrolysers from currently 1 gigawatt per year to up to 5 gigawatts.

The order situation at the producers of electrolysis plants is more than good. In an interview, Ulf Bäumer of thyssenkrupp explains how the company is currently ramping up its production capacities: through the use of robots, through digitalisation and the further development of components – large-scale industrial production instead of manufacture. In the process, the use of precious metals such as platinum and iridium is also to be reduced, mainly for cost reasons. thyssenkrupp wants to increase the output of electrolysers from currently 1 gigawatt per year to up to 5 gigawatts. Bäumer considers the German government’s goal of increasing electrolysis capacity in Germany to 5 gigawatts by the end of the decade to be ambitious but feasible. Read more

The challenges of a global energy transition are enormous.

Global Energy Solutions (GES) has specified its work programme for the next two years. In an interview, Christof von Branconi, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the association, names the focal points. The challenges of a global energy transition are enormous, and so are the tasks. After all, around 85 percent of the energy used worldwide today comes from fossil sources. Over the next 30 years, “we have to find a way to use or replace these 85 percent as harmlessly as possible for the climate,” says von Branconi. GES has now drawn up a programme on how possible solutions – open-ended – are to be developed, step by step. Read more

He relies on transportable and storable energy carriers.

Georg Brasseur is an engineer and teaches at Graz University of Technology. His maxim: We need a technical vision of how the global energy transition can succeed at all. Using Europe as an example, he shows with simple calculations that neither green energy self-sufficiency is possible nor a solution that relies entirely on electricity (all-electric). With his proposal, Brasseur pleads for learning from nature and imitating it. After all, nature has been experimenting and developing solutions for millions of years. He relies on transportable and storable energy carriers. For Brasseur, hydrogen is not one of these in the strict sense, but it is a crucial preliminary product that should also be used locally.  Read more

Drivers would hardly notice this admixture.

Global Energy Solutions proposes to German politicians that climate-neutral synthetic fuels be added to today’s classic petrol. This is also possible for diesel and heating oil. The blending rate could be 15 percent in 2030. This would be a considerable contribution to achieving the goal of the new German climate protection law. Compared to 1990, the aim is to reduce CO2 emissions by 65 percent by 2030. Drivers would hardly notice this admixture. Not on the technical side, because synthetic petrol (just like diesel or heating oil) meets the same standards as petrol from fossil sources. Read more

This has made states like Saudi Arabia rethink.

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

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