Carbon neutrality can’t be achieved without hydrogen

Portrait Rainer Baake, © Climate Neutrality Foundation
© Climate Neutrality Foundation

Interview with Rainer Baake, director of the Climate Neutrality Foundation

For years, Rainer Baake was seen as one of the staunchest skeptics of hydrogen and fuel cell technology. During his tenure as state secretary at the German economy and energy ministry (2014 to 2018) and the environment ministry (1998 to 2005) he acquired a reputation for blocking hydrogen schemes – with some projects getting as far as his desk but not much further. However, for the past few months he’s been sending out rather different signals, especially since his appointment as director of the Climate Neutrality Foundation in July 2020. H2-international has taken this opportunity to talk to him about the foundation’s recently published hydrogen study and about his new approach – which, he argues, isn’t really that new.

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Scotland’s hydrogen economy

Fuel cell, MSUs and local ferry, at Kirkwall Pier,
 © Colin Keldie

Delivering a bright future through collaboration and innovation

In December 2020 Scotland became the first country in the UK to publish a hydrogen policy statement, six months after publication of the German hydrogen strategy. This sets out Scotland’s vision for hydrogen and how we can maximize our massive potential in the sector. Our accompanying Hydrogen Assessment Report appraised the potential for hydrogen to be deployed to help achieve our stretching decarbonization targets. Its economic impact scenarios concluded that Scotland has the potential to deliver up to 126 terawatt-hours of green hydrogen per year by 2045, up to 96 terawatt-hours of them for export. This would protect or create between 70,000 and over 300,000 jobs – in a population of 5.5 million – and deliver gross value-added impacts of between GBP 5 billion and GBP 25 billion.

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Simone Peter elected president of BEE

BEE
Simone Peter, © BEE

The BEE, the German Renewable Energy Federation, has a new president, former Green Party co-chair Simone Peter. After stepping down from her party leadership position in January 2018, she was unanimously elected to head the umbrella organization the following month. She replaced Fritz Brickwedde, who had presided over the BEE since October 2013 and resigned for personal reasons.

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Green Gas Replaces Oil

Heat_marketThe heating industry continues to move forward with establishing natural gas as the go-to source for the energy supply of residential buildings, while increasingly adding efficient fuel cell technologies and eco-gas to the mix. The members of the Zukunft Erdgas advocacy group expect oil to no longer play an important role as an energy carrier in the medium term, as they believe it will gradually be replaced by renewable gases. A recent study has shown that this could lead to an around 80 percent cut in CO2 emissions from heat supply.

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Green Hydrogen Use in Refineries

HyCO4-web
HyCO4 refinery in Rotterdam

At the beginning of this year, the German Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association had its first-ever H2 economic forum in the German capital. On Feb. 18, 2016, around 50 representatives from politics and business were invited to the Dutch embassy in Berlin to discuss green hydrogen opportunities with Germany’s federal environment minister, Barbara Hendricks.

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