21 Jun 2018, 12:23
Sören Amelang Julian Wettengel

Govt split over EU car CO₂ limits / Grid operators push power-to-gas

Tagesspiegel Background / Handelsblatt

The members of the German government disagree over the country’s position on future EU car emission limits, according to media reports. The ministries of economic affairs and transport both reject the environment ministry’s call for more ambitious targets, reports Jens Tartler in Tagesspiegel Background. Government sources told the author that economic affairs minister Peter Altmaier and transport minister Andreas Scheuer even wanted to water down the European Commission’s proposal to protect the German car industry. Tartler says the finance ministry supports more ambitious targets, because it wants to avoid spending billions on CO2 certificates in case Germany misses its climate targets.
The environment ministry says car emissions must be halved between 2021 and 2030 for Germany to reach its climate targets, and to secure the future of the country’s mighty car industry. The European Commission has proposed a 30 percent reduction only.

Read a Handelsblatt report on this topic in German here.

For background, read the article German environment ministry pushes for tougher EU car emission rules.

Amprion / Open Grid Europe

Power transmission grid operator Amprion and gas transmission grid operator Open Grid Europe (OGE) want to test power-to-gas (PtG) technologies on an industrial scale in Germany to better integrate electricity with the other sectors, the companies announced in a press release. They want to build 50-100 megawatt (MW) facilities, where today’s pilot plants in Germany have a capacity of only 6 MW. PtG uses renewable power to produce synthetic hydrogen and methane through electrolysis and methanation. This could provide carbon-free or carbon-neutral fuel for heating and transport, and pave the way for large-scale seasonal energy storage. “We need the breakthrough in Germany. It’s time to open the doors for sector coupling on an industrial scale,” said Stephan Kamphues, managing director of Vier Gas Transport GmbH, parent company of OGE.

Find the press release in German here.

For background, read the new CLEW factsheets Power-to-gas: Fix for all problems or simply too expensive? and Sector coupling - Shaping an integrated renewable energy system.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

The joint power-to-gas (PtG) project by power and gas transmission grid operators Amprion and Open Grid Europe (OGE) should not come as a surprise, as especially the gas industry worries about its future in a decarbonised Germany, writes Andreas Mihm in an opinion piece in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Carbon-neutral gas produced from renewable electricity could be used in the existing pipelines, storages, and end-use infrastructure. No one knows whether PtG will become competitive in the end, writes Mihm. “Still, nothing is won unless risks are taken.”

For background, read the new CLEW factsheets Power-to-gas: Fix for all problems or simply too expensive? and Sector coupling - Shaping an integrated renewable energy system.

Federal government

The German government has chosen Ingolstadt to try out flying taxis in cooperation with Airbus and carmaker Audi, which is based in the Bavarian city. Transport minister Andreas Scheuer said flying taxis are no longer a pipe dream of the future. Instead, they “open up entirely new possibilities, for example for moving sick people.” He added that urban air mobility is also “a huge opportunity for companies and startups.”
The best-known German startups developing flying robotaxis are Lilium and Volocopter.

Find the government press release in German here, and an Audi press release in English here.

For background, read the interview Emission-free aviation is technically feasible – DLR Researcher.

Transport & Environment

European carmakers announced last year they would invest 21.7 billion euros in China to manufacture electric vehicles (EV), compared to only 3.2 billion euros in Europe, according to clean mobility lobby group Transport&Environment (T&E). “China bet decisively on electric cars and is winning the race. It understood that production follows demand, and demand is created with smart, ambitious industrial policy. But Europe still can’t shake off its dirty diesel legacy,” said T&E clean vehicles manager Julia Poliscanova. Volkswagen leads the pack with a 10 billion euro joint venture with Chinese Anhui Jianghuai, followed by Renault-Nissan and Daimler, according to T&E.

Read the T&E press release in English here.

For background on Germany’s carmakers and the Energiewende, read the dossier BMW, Daimler, and VW vow to fight in green transport revolution.

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

Cultivating feed in industrial facilities rather than on croplands, using a method originally developed during the Cold War for space travel, could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other negative implications for the environment, according to a study published by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Microbes can be cultivated with energy, nitrogen, and carbon in industrial facilities to produce protein powders, which are then fed instead of soybeans to animals. “Without drastic changes to the agro-food system, the rising food and animal feed demand that comes with our meat-based diets will lead to continuous deforestation, biodiversity loss, nutrient pollution, and climate-impacting emissions,” writes the PIK in a press release. The researchers find that by replacing only two percent of livestock feed by protein-rich microbes, more than five percent of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, global cropland area and global nitrogen losses could each be decreased.

Find the press release in English here, the article in English here, and a video in English here.

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