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10 Dec 2019, 13:31
Sören Amelang

Germany to establish coordination hub for international power-to-x activities

Clean Energy Wire

Germany will establish a central hub to coordinate its international ambitions to push the production and trade of synthetic fuels made with renewable power. "We need an internationally coordinated approach," environment minister Svenja Schulze said at the Madrid climate summit COP25. She added that fuels made with so-called power-to-x technologies will be a "key future technology for climate protection," especially in aviation, shipping, steelmaking and the chemical industry.
Synthetic fuels will eventually be made and traded in a production chain spanning the globe, Schulze said. Germany's new international power-to-x secretariat will be based in Berlin and run by the German development agency GIZ. Its aim is to set up an international network while ensuring that developing countries that produce the renewable fuel benefit from their engagement, Schulze said. She added that German industry was leading in renewable technologies and also stood to benefit from being a pioneer. "As Germans, we have a reputation that we need to defend," Schulze said.

Making fuels with renewable electricity will be key to global efforts to decarbonise and Germany must urgently develop strategies to roll out the technologies on an industrial scale at home and abroad without causing undue harm to the environment, according to government and industry experts. Germany currently has a strong position in making synthetic fuels with renewable electricity, such as electrolysers that generate hydrogen, the basis for climate-neutral fuels, exemplified by start-ups like SunfireEnapter and Hydrogenius Technologies. German experts believe that synthetic fuels will be needed on a large scale to decarbonise the cement, steel and chemical industries as well as long-distance aviation and shipping, as renewable electricity cannot be used directly to make those sectors climate neutral. Germany looks set to import large quantities of synthetic fuels in the future because it can't generate the necessary quantities by itself due to its limited renewables deployment potential.

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