Hydrogen and the energy transition

2020-08-31

Researchers are now simulating how the energy transition can be as successful and cost-effective as possible. As part of the simulation, they are also calculating how much hydrogen will be needed and where it could come from.

Persistence now has a price tag. If society wants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the name of climate protection without having to change its ways, the economy will have to spend some €21 billion more annually through 2050 than under a reference scenario. “The additional expense mainly comes down to the fact that we would have to import more hydrogen and synthetic energy carriers in order to achieve climate targets.

The amount of hydrogen necessary and feasible from a technological-economic standpoint is not set in stone; rather, it depends on the decisions of society. The researchers designed a range of scenarios to model the different courses of action that society might take.

What all scenarios have in common is that in each, energy-related CO2 emissions are 95% lower than 1990 levels. In the “Reference” scenario, the authors model a trend without pronounced social acceptance of changes or any radical shift in consumer behavior. In this scenario, people may be willing to switch to electric cars, but are not prepared to make drastic changes to their mobility and consumption behavior. These more dramatic changes occur in the “Sufficiency” scenario, which makes the energy transition easier and more cost-effective.

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