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27 Sep 2019, 13:42
Sören Amelang

Germany's climate targets require huge amounts of renewable hydrogen – reports

Clean Energy Wire

Germany will require massive amounts of hydrogen made with renewable power to reach its climate targets, according to two reports commissioned by Greenpeace Energy. "In a future fully renewable energy system, the demand for renewable hydrogen and fuels produced from it will be higher at 1,089 terawatt hours (TWh) per year than the demand for green electricity at 959 TWh," the company said, adding that Germany's current electricity consumption is 596 TWh. Greenpeace Energy called on the government to speed up the roll-out of renewables to provide the necessary electricity. "With its climate action package, the German government is sending completely wrong signals here. Although it wants to finally promote hydrogen, the politicians are criminally neglecting the expansion of wind and solar energy." The studies also assume "massive" imports of both renewable electricity and renewable hydrogen.

The production of “green hydrogen” with renewable power using electrolysis has lately become a hot topic in German industry, and a whole range of projects are dedicated to the development of the technology. Using renewable electricity to produce fossil fuel substitutes could solve some of the Energiewende’s toughest challenges, such as energy storage and heavy-duty freight transport. The federal government plans to decide on a “hydrogen strategy“ by the end of the year.

Greenpeace Energy said the reports authored by think tank Wuppertal Institute and consultancy Energy Brainpool already assumed maximum efficiency. An emission-free transport sector will require a total of 355 TWh per year – thereof 107 TWh for direct use in battery-electric mobility, and 249 TWh for renewable gases and synthetic fuels, mainly for use in aviation. Additional synthetic gases will be needed for industry and heating. "Electrolysers will be an attractive investment in the future. We will be able to operate up to 115 gigawatts of electrolysers economically in Germany around 2040," explained Fabian Huneke of Energy Brainpool. To help electrolysers achieve a breakthrough in the country, Greenpeace Energy is proposing a market stimulus programme, which is limited in time and volume.

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