Minister of Transport calls for hydrogen market boost

Winfried Hermann, the transport minister, is pushing for the creation of so-called synthetic fuels.

Hermann wrote in a guest article for the Badische Neueste Nachrichten and the Badischer Tagblatt, “Now it is important that Germany and the EU enter into the necessary international energy partnerships with windy and sun-rich countries and that they are supported in building the necessary infrastructure” (Saturday). The legislative foundation for expanding the market for hydrogen and electricity-based fuels must be developed by the EU.

Investments between three and ten billion dollars

Hydrogen and its derivatives are still in their infancy on the market. Before synthetic fuels can be generated in industrial numbers, Hermann underlined that it will take another five to ten years. Investments in the three-digit billion level are required up until that point. “In the transition period, admixtures to fossil fuels will be important.”

The USA provides the finest conditions for developing a hydrogen and refueled economy that is climate-friendly, with a billion-dollar program to battle inflation. International investment capital will steer away of Europe, according to Hermann, if the EU does not swiftly establish clear and uncomplicated standards for investment. Thus, Baden-Württemberg plant suppliers and manufacturers would miss out on a significant opportunity. ReFuels are fuels that are created from renewable energy sources.

Renewable fuels

Hermann makes an urgent plea for help with synthetic fuels in a letter to Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens), according to the “Stuttgarter Nachrichten” (Monday). The goal is to “urgently and expeditiously” establish the legal framework for the manufacture of climate-neutral fuels. Hermann, therefore, suggests a tax incentive in addition to other things.

According to Winfried Mack, the CDU parliamentary group’s economic policy spokesman, the CDU and Greens are now in agreement on the matter and moving in the same direction. Climate protection benefits from this. “Now it is vital to work together to overcome the opposition and ideological reservations in the Federal Government and to some extent also in Brussels against a constant expansion of hydrogen and synthetic fuels,” the statement continued.

If this fails, Mack emphasized, the Paris climate goals will be postponed, and the economy would become less competitive in comparison to the USA. Mack specifically urged that Baden-Württemberg be swiftly and completely connected to international hydrogen pipelines.

Emissions reduction

Hans-Ulrich Rülke, the head of the FDP’s parliamentary group, praised Hermann’s suggestion. But this must also apply to the passenger car industry, he insisted: “There can be no climate protection without synthetic fuels in the passenger car sector!”

The minister simultaneously cautioned that synthetic fuels are not a cure-all in his guest column for the two publications. “They must not entice us to abandon climate protection in transportation and leave everything as it is.” By 2030, the nation would have to reduce CO2 emissions by almost 13 million tonnes compared to 2019. Hermann explained with a comparison that “this translates to more than five times the emissions emitted by the city of Karlsruhe in 2017.

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