By Hans Jørgen Brodersen, Project manager and Master of Engineering
For a long time, Denmark has been in front in the green transition of the energy system – going from fossil fuels to renewable resources. This willingness to adapt is resting on a brave and ambitious political vision, which people have taken to heart and supported. The believe that climate change is real, that it benefits to conserve energy, to insulate and being willing to adapt and invest in alternative energy technology within solar and wind, are what have brought Denmark in the international driver’s seat.
The specific solution ingenuity and development is propelled by scientists, companies, organisations and entrepreneurs with good ideas, and likewise supported by the majority of the Danish parliament, which earmarks large programs and financing solutions to the transition.
The ambitious goals which are a part of the vision have taken Denmark far and promoted the country’s ability to innovate within technology and systems, and hereby acquired valuable knowledge, jobs, and export revenues.
But this is not the time to begin to turn down on the willingness to adapt, but on the contrary we must increase it and establish targets for agriculture, buildings and transport, which now have been done with the proposal form the European commission. This can contribute to keeping Denmark in the driver’s seat compared to many of the other competing states, which now also have seized the opportunities which the energy challenges have brought along. It will also ensure a continuous positive economic development for Denmark going forward.With the international Paris Agreement on climate Change signed in December 2015, EU has now in July 2016 translated the agreement into some very ambitious reduction goals for the individual member states on buildings, agriculture and transport. Denmark has received some large CO2 reduction goals at 39 % in 2030 compared to 2005. It is now important that we seize these reduction goals and use it as a lever to stay in the lead as innovative frontrunner country which offers usable solutions to the challenge. EUs goal within transport.
The main elements in EUs transport strategy are:Increasing the efficiency of the transport system by making the most of digital technologies, smart pricing and further encouraging the shift to lower emission transport modes
Speeding up the deployment of low-emission alternative energy for transport, such as advanced biofuels, electricity, hydrogen and renewable synthetic fuels and removing obstacles to the electrification of transport
Moving towards zero-emission vehicles. While further improvements to the internal combustion engine will be needed, Europe needs to accelerate the transition towards low- and zero-emission vehicles. (EU legislation currently refers to low-emission vehicles as vehicles having tailpipe emissions below 50g/km. This would include some plug-in hybrids, full electric cars and fuel cell (i.e. hydrogen-powered) vehicles. The latter two examples also represent zero-emission vehicles.)
How can hydrogen contribute?
With the focus on green gasses and the transport sector these elements are also the focal point of what we do at Hydrogen Valley. We want to contribute to the green transition by conducting and participating in ambitious projects, which can pave the way for a future renewable energy system. We believe that the production and usage of hydrogen is one of the key solutions to involving the transport sector in the green transition.With the establishment of a hydrogen facility in Hobro, based on cheap renewable electricity from wind turbines (the HyBalance project), we may in a couple of years enable the storage of CO2-free energy in the form of green hydrogen can be used for clean transportation. Over time we might also be able to store large amounts of hydrogen in locale salt caverns. And by initiating projects with the focus on fuel cells for transportation, we will convert the hydrogen into pollution-free kilometres. By using and upgrading agricultural biogas with hydrogen, farms will act as energy supplier and at the same time reducing their environmental impact.We cannot keep back on demonstrating how these opportunities can lead to renewable and usable solutions, where the economy is also taken into consideration.
With a flexible and restructured tax- and supporting policy, the government must encourage these initiatives and make sure that the ability to innovate will stay at the top in Denmark – and potentially also in cooperation with other EU states.