06 Oct 2020, 13:16
Alex Dziadosz

Industry heavyweight Viessmann pushes for controversial hydrogen use in heating

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung / Clean Energy Wire

German heating manufacturer Viessmann is pushing to deploy green hydrogen in the country’s heating industry, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports, although the potential usage of green hydrogen in heating remains controversial. The heating market accounts for up to half of Germany’s carbon emissions, the report says, meaning that using hydrogen — either on its own or possibly in combination with traditional gas — could achieve major emissions reductions. Much infrastructure is also in place, in that gas pipes to millions of households could be suitable for the process, it says. Maximilian Viessmann, head of Viessmann, is a member of the national Hydrogen Council (Wasserstoffrat) and is pushing for the energy source’s deployment in the sector: “In no other area than the heating sector would such large CO2 savings be possible so quickly and pragmatically," Viessmann is quoted as saying. The company is one of Germany's largest heating system producers and generates about half of its earnings abroad.

 The European Union and Germany are putting billions of euros into developing clean hydrogen energy, which is seen as a potentially powerful way to reduce emissions in heavy industry and transport. But the process of separating hydrogen from oxygen uses a great deal of energy, much of which currently involves fossil fuels. The use of so-called “green hydrogen”, which relies on renewables, in the heating sector, remains controversial. Some experts say it should not be used in the sector because heat pumps could use renewable energy directly. Meanwhile, supplies of green hydrogen would be limited and therefore better used for industries without such alternatives. In a position paper on expanding renewables in heating the German Renewable Energy Association (BEE) instead recommended a “mix of regulatory law, CO2 price signals and funding policy, which give the expansion of heat pumps, wood heating (pellets, wood chips), solar thermal and geothermal energy as well as biogas more dynamism”.

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