Methanol as a central building block of a sustainable energy future

© Global Energy Solutions
© Global Energy Solutions

Guest commentary by Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Franz Josef Radermacher

Germany focuses too much on national goals in the fight against climate change (climate nationalism). However, these are of little relevance in the global context. This focus leads to unfavourable strategies, for example in the areas of green electricity, green hydrogen and synthetic fuels. All considerations are dominated by scarcity and too high costs. Because in Germany people want to produce themselves what should be imported wisely. Just as 70 per cent of energy has been imported up to now.

The topic of climate protection is extremely complex. Global CO2 emissions continue to grow. The Paris Treaty contains ambitious targets, but no matching commitments and measures. The negative dynamics in the climate sector result from the understandable economic aspirations of many poorer countries towards catch-up prosperity.

China is leading the way, but is subsequently emitting a third of global CO2 emissions and continuing to increase them. In parallel, the world population is growing at a rapid pace. By 2050, about 2.5 billion people will be added, once the population of the Federal Republic of Germany each year.

German and European climate policy is not very concerned with these issues. We are primarily concerned with reducing our own CO2 emissions. This is of little relevance to the world’s climate, but it requires all our attention and enormous financial and intellectual resources. We are fully committed to electro-mobility, not to climate-neutral synthetic fuels for passenger cars, among others for the global existing fleet. Nuclear power is rejected across the board, as is the capture and use of CO2 from industrial plants and coal-fired power stations.

Synthetic energy sources are an alternative

Would there be alternatives? Yes, because Germany is a high-tech country and the world needs new technical solutions. Huge amounts of cheap green electricity from the great sun deserts, green hydrogen as a by-product from these regions, derived synthetic energy sources such as methanol and methane for use everywhere in the world would totally change the situation.

Siemens Energy and Porsche are currently pursuing this path in the Haru Oni project in Chile. In this context, the recycling of CO2 from power plants and industrial facilities and their conversion to climate neutrality using green methanol and methane as an energy source is also interesting. From the above follows a three-step approach leading from green electricity via green hydrogen to synthetic fuels, especially methanol.

… Read more in the latest H2-International e-Journal, Aug. 2021

Author: Prof. Dr. Dr. Dr. h.c. Franz Josef Radermacher – Research Institute for Application-Oriented Knowledge Processing/s (FAW/s), Ulm, Global Energy Solutions e. V., Ulm

Leave a Reply