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Energy Transition

Green Energy News | December 2021

Germany's green energy sector has recently seen a number of major integrated grid and hydrogen initiatives launched, with start-ups also developing innovative waste reduction technologies.

NeuConnect interconnector cable to advance Europe’s Integrated Power System

The “NeuConnect” interconnector cable project, set to begin construction next year, will allow 1.4 GW of electricity capacity to move between the UK and Germany for the first time. The initiative is one of the first project-financed interconnectors in Europe to promote increased grid integration. Advocates of the opening up of the interconnector market to private investment believe that greater grid integration will allow a climate-neutral Europe to run securely on intermittent renewable power sources. Critics of the development argue whether the loss of power supply sovereignty is a price worth paying for more reliable and cheaper energy supply.

World’s first industrial CO2-neutral e-kerosene plant opens in Germany

The world’s first industrial CO2-neutral e-kerosene production plant has opened in Werlte in the federal state of Lower Saxony. The power-to-liquid aviation fuel plant is operated by atmosfair, a German non-profit organization that promotes, develops and finances renewable energy projects. Logistics companies Lufthansa Cargo and Kuehne+Nagel number among the first customers for the fuel produced by using CO2 from a biogas plant and the air plus water to produce a synthetic crude oil that is refined to produce e-kerosene.

“Hydrogen Valley” cluster takes shape in northwest Germany

A number of energy providers including EWE, Tennet, Gasunie, and Thyssengas are pooling their projects to create the “Clean Hydrogen Coastline” and “Element One” projects in the hydrogen cluster taking shape in northwest Germany. The country’s North Sea coast is of particular importance in the development of a nationwide hydrogen economy. The high supply of renewable energies in the region allows hydrogen to be produced, stored and integrated into the energy system via existing electricity and gas infrastructure. The Clean Hydrogen Coastline project has been awarded European Union "Important Project of Common European Interest" status and is intended to contribute to the establishment and expansion of the hydrogen economy in the Northwest region. Cumulative investment volume amounts to more than one billion euros. The Element One project – led by Gasunie, Tennet and Thyssengas – will see the construction of a 100 megawatt-class electrolyzer to convert electricity from renewable sources into green hydrogen.

German environment ministry launches project to decarbonize glass industry

Germany’s Federal Environment Ministry in Germany (BMU) is funding two projects researching alternatives to fossil fuel use in the glass industry. Mainz-based glass manufacturer Schott will receive around EUR 4.5 million in total as part of the BMU’s “Decarbonization in Industry” program to reduce emissions in energy-intensive industries.

Berlin start-up launches climate digital platform for farmers

Berlin start-up Klim has launched a climate digital platform that promotes “climate farming” using regenerative methods to store more carbon dioxide in the soil than is released. Farmers can obtain certification for environmentally friendly farming methods including, for example, intermediate crops and flower strips. Each method is assigned a specific CO” storage capacity per hectare and year for which the farmer receives financial reimbursement.

Munich climate-neutral start-up secures EUR 1.6 million seed funding

Munich-based start-up has secured EUR 1.6 million fresh capital in a recent pre-seed financing round. The company develops software that allows manufacturing companies to collect and report their environmental data to clients and regulators to help achieve carbon neutrality. The new funding will see the start-up expand its product and software development teams.

SeaClear project to collect sea waste

An international network of partners including the Hamburg-based Fraunhofer Center for Maritime Logistics and Services CML has developed an autonomous robotic solution to detect, classify and collect underwater waste. The world’s oceans now contain between 26 and 90 million tons of waste – 90 percent of which lies on the seabed. To date, waste has been collected by divers at significant effort and cost. The SeaClear solution has received EUR 5 million funding as part of the EU Horizon 2020 research scheme. The researchers have set a 90 percent success rate in collecting identified underwater waste, creating 70 percent cost savings compared to using divers.  Two test phases are currently underway in Hamburg and Dubrovnik in Croatia, with a functional prototype set for December 2023.

Hamburg start-up develops plastic alternative  

Hamburg-based start-up Traceless is developing an innovative technology that uses agricultural by-products to make fully compostable storage-stable films, solid materials and wafer-thin coatings with the same advantageous properties of plastics. The traceless materials also reduce production carbon dioxide emission levels by up to 87 percent compared to conventional plastic. The start-up is currently commissioning its first pilot for dispatch packaging made of traceless material with the Otto Group.

R-Cycle project to reduce plastic waste

Troisdorf-based mechanical engineering company Reifenhäuser and partners have launched the “R-Cycle” scheme to help reduce needless plastic waste. The company has developed a technique to produce film from just one plastic. This monofilm, used in single variety packaging, can then be melted down separately and reprocessed into new products. Participants in the R-Cycle initiative have developed an invisible water mark that is incorporated into the monofilm. This contains information about the individual components of the plastic which is scanned using a smartphone app.

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