Environment Minister Schulze: "We need a global strategy for green hydrogen"

Note: This text is from the archive.

Published on: 10.12.2019

Sequence number: No. 236/19


Publisher: Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety

Minister: Svenja Schulze

Term of office: 14.03.2018 - 08.12.2021

19th Leg. period: 14.03.2018 - 08.12.2021

The BMU intends to expand international cooperation on sustainable synthetic fuels and raw materials from green electricity (Power-to-X). Svenja Schulze therefore announced the establishment of a Power-to-X network.

UN Climate Change Conference: BMU sets up international knowledge and networking platform for synthetic energy sources based on green electricity.

The Federal Environment Ministry wants to expand international cooperation on sustainable synthetic fuels and chemical feedstocks from green electricity (power-to-x). Today at the UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid, Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze announced the establishment of a Power-to-X Secretariat that will in future serve as a platform for an international power-to-x network. The secretariat will be based in Berlin. Power-to-x refers to technologies used to produce synthetic fuels and base materials from electricity.

For energy sources that are actually sustainable, it is crucial that the base product is green hydrogen produced using wind and solar energy. The goals of the Federal Environment Ministry initiative include to improve global exchange of knowledge, better determine the climate action potential of these products and jointly develop sustainability criteria for their application.

Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze commented: "We need a global strategy for the production of synthetic fuels and base materials from green electricity. This could in future make an important contribution, at national and international level, to climate action and the establishment of a climate neutral economy. We need to set out the criteria now to ensure environmentally- and climate-friendly application worldwide. We cannot repeat the mistakes that were made with biofuels. To succeed in this, we need to work together at global level. This is why we want to create a platform and set up an international network. The Power-to-X Secretariat is the starting point for this."

In order for energy sources based on electricity to make a real contribution to climate action, their production and use must meet certain sustainability criteria from the very beginning. The most important of these is that they should be produced exclusively from renewable energies. In addition, not every area of application will be expedient, not just from an environmental or climate action perspective, but also for cost and efficiency reasons. For electricity-based energy sources such as green hydrogen and other fuels, conversion losses are unavoidable. These losses are currently very high. Take cars for example: The electricity requirement when using a synthetic fuel for a car is between two and almost seven times higher than when direct electricity is used in an electric car. It is therefore important to use sustainable power-to-x products in a targeted way where direct electricity use is not possible – such as in aviation, shipping or the steel industry.

The production of energy sources from green electricity such as green hydrogen will be carried out globally, especially in countries with a high level of solar and wind power potential. To create a viable global market for sustainable synthetic fuels and base materials from green electricity, it is important to involve all relevant actors at national and international level in a dialogue to use the opportunities of this technology and keep environmental impacts as low as possible.

With a view to strengthening global networking, presenting the climate action potential of synthetic fuels and base materials from green electricity and leading a discussion on sustainability standards, the BMU commissioned GIZ with bringing all power-to-x activities under one roof and expanding on them. Further concrete tasks of GIZ are to help clarify key questions regarding energy efficiency and resources, potential and feasibility, the time frame for producing market-ready products, and the establishment of local added value chains and financing concepts. In addition, the Power-to-X Secretariat will work together with partners in Germany and worldwide, building on existing projects and cooperations of the Federal Environment Ministry with institutions from Morocco, South Africa and Chile, among others.

10.12.2019 | Press release No. 236/19