"Energiewende", which roughly translates as the transformation of the German energy sector in accordance with the imperatives of climate change, may soon become a byword for the corresponding processes most other developed countries are at various stages of undergoing. Germany's notable progress in this area offers valuable insights that other states can draw on in implementing their own transitions.
The German state of North Rhine-Westphalia is making its own contribution to achieving the Energiewende's ambitious objectives: in addition to funding an array of "clean and green" projects, the Virtual Institute Power to Gas and Heat was established as a consortium of seven scientific and technical organisations whose aim is to inscribe a future, renewable-based German energy system with adequate flexibility. Thus, it is tasked with conceiving of and evaluating sustainable energy path options.
The paper by Bernd Emonts, Sebastian Schiebahn (both Forschungszentrum Jülich), Klaus Görner (Gas- und Wärme-Institut Essen e.V.), Dietmar Lindenberger (Institute of Energy Economics at the University of Cologne), Peter Markewitz (Forschungszentrum Jülich), Frank Merten (Wuppertal Institute), and Detlef Stolten (Forschungszentrum Jülich; RWTH Aachen University) outlines one of the most promising of these pathways, which is predicated on the use of electrolytically-produced hydrogen as an energy storage medium, as well as the replacement of hydrocarbon-based fuel for most road vehicles. The authors describe and evaluate this path and place it in a systemic context, outlining a case study from which other countries and federated jurisdictions therein may draw inspiration.
The paper "Re-energizing energy supply: Electrolytically-produced hydrogen as a flexible energy storage medium and fuel for road transport" was published in the Journal of Power Sources, volume 342, and is available for purchase via ScienceDirect.