ENERGY MEETS INDUSTRIES
The first steps of the urgently needed transformation towards a sustainable and decarbonized energy supply have already been taken – but the pressure is growing. While demand for energy will increase exponentially in coming years, the climate targets require a real rethink and specific solutions that extend beyond each player’s own sector.
Our ‘Energy meets Industries’ event, which took place on October 19 at the Bayer Baykomm Communication Center in Leverkusen, brought together top decision-makers from the fields of production and logistics, infrastructure and real estate.
Through frank and open discussions and dialog – combined with fascinating panel discussions featuring high-caliber experts and engaging pitches from innovative start-ups – we addressed the following question:
The fact is that we have to make greater use of our domestic potential and pursue new approaches to sector coupling. That is the prerequisite for a successful electricity and heating transition over coming years.
Together, we discussed the following key questions:
- What contribution do energy suppliers make to the green transformation of industry?
- What is needed for the green heating transition to finally gain momentum?
- Can green hydrogen live up to the expectation of being a panacea?
In keeping with the principle of ‘entrepreneurs taking action’, top experts and decision-makers put their heads together, contributed their needs and experiences, and jointly developed solutions for the electricity and heating transition.
Specifically, the participants agreed on the following key statements:
We, the undersigned, are therefore striving to implement the electricity and heating transition both in society and across all sectors of the economy. It cannot and must not be the case that every sector, let alone every company or every building, pursues their own solutions in isolation. In our view, the following seven points are essential to achieve a fast, efficient and sustainable energy transition with sector coupling as the central instrument.
As representatives of the various sectors, we need to coordinate our strategies and actions. Only by working together can we derive the maximum benefit from the use of renewable energy, for example from solar, wind, geothermal energy and temporarily stored ‘green’ hydrogen. All companies involved in the supply chain – from production to the end customer – must work together across all sectors. The aim is to start future projects with a sector coupling workshop.
Without harmonized sustainability concepts, companies will very soon find themselves no longer be able to operate, in other words, to produce. This is because, on the one hand, we are obliged to harmonize by regulations at different levels (EU, national, regional). And on the other hand, this is the only way to achieve competitive advantages in the market and to credibly communicate USPs – for example in the ‘war for talent’. Financial feasibility must be secured, as off-shoring is not an alternative
Let’s remember that we are entrepreneurs! And entrepreneurs take action. So let’s tackle the sustainable energy and heating transition with energy and determination, and finally leave the standstill and congestion in approval and implementation processes behind us! We all stand to win. What is needed is a pioneering spirit – and willingness to undertake pilot projects. It’s time to act!
To make the energy transition a success together, it is essential that we quickly produce as much renewable electricity as possible at a local level. We can achieve this centrally through wind and solar farms, as well as with geothermal energy, for example. And when it comes to a decentralized approach, we can focus on photovoltaics and real estate. Real estate owners, developers and consultants should thoroughly examine the possibilities of using plus-energy technology for new buildings. And heat pumps are a possible solution for established buildings.
As private-sector companies and property owners, we initiate the establishment of working groups and initiatives in local authorities to accelerate the implementation of the green heating transition – and actively participate in them too. With this approach, we also ensure that self-generated electricity or heating can actually be fed into the local energy grid and thus benefit other sectors.
Efficient and effective sector coupling between industry and manufacturing, logistics, infrastructure and mobility increases flexibility in the demand for electrical energy and heating. But this only applies if we consistently address and implement the above points. In this way, we can achieve huge cost savings because fewer resource-intensive storage systems will have to be built.
We need a concerted approach to make mobility a central element of the energy transition. For example, we should take targeted measures to implement Power-to-X technology (the conversion of electricity to hydrogen or e-fuels) at key mobility points. This creates mobility hubs that address people’s needs – and, at the same time, promotes the energy transition.
‘Promote sustainability as an industry’ – a keynote by Dr. Armin Knors, Head of Engineering and Technology, Bayer AG
- Humanity has clearly exceeded its planetary boundaries.
- Decarbonization without deindustrialization
- We won’t be able to achieve the transition without technical innovations
‘On the current status of the energy transition’ – a keynote by Dr. Marie-Luise Wolff, Chair of the Board of Entega AG and President of the German Association of Energy and Water Industries
- ‘Business as usual’ is not an acceptable strategy
- The hydrogen infrastructure is also being planned, but there is still a lack of coordination with the power plant strategy
- Renewable energy and infrastructure expansion + sector coupling + digitization = 20 years of construction sites in every local authority, company and household
‘The Big Picture: Climate neutrality as a goal’ – a keynote by Professor Hans Sommer, Chairman of the Consortiumand founder of Drees & Sommer
- Humans must not be parasites, but must develop a symbiotic relationship with Earth.
- Paths to the solution: We must stop removing fossil carbon from the geosphere, while removing more CO2 from the atmosphere.
- Ecology is not possible without economy: Industry must work with government to develop a joint strategy. We need targeted investment in innovative technologies.
- This requires that the active players to devise a promising joint plan – in which the organization of cooperation is both simple and pragmatic.
With Dr. Alexander Stubinitzky, Matthias Lisson, Dr. Olaf Breuer, Dr. Philipp Biallass and Dr. Stefan Kaufmann
The panel showed that there are already Best Practice examples for the use of green hydrogen – including here in Germany. It is important that we do not rely on other countries and on imports, but that we actively integrate the processes in this country as well. The green transition must also be economically viable. Only a holistic approach can lead to success.
With Frank Stührenberg, Nico Neumann, Petru-Catalin Scafaru, Matthias Bürk, and Christoph Gawlik
We must decarbonize but want to remain competitive – that is why we need as much renewable energy as possible. Green hydrogen will not be the only solution – we need a diversified approach, using, for example, geothermal energy, waste heat, photovoltaics and long-term thermal storage. Expanding your network will create many opportunities to achieve sustainability through sector coupling.
With Andreas Lederle, Patrick Schneckenburger, Andreas Schneider, Sven Partzsch and Henrik Töpelt
Climate reversal always requires a heating transition! There is huge potential for the use of geothermal energy in Germany. By 2040, we hope to have a much more diverse energy mix. Digitization will help us to bring the different streams together. And the step from fossil to renewable energy and onwards to a climate-neutral economy can succeed.
“I’ve never heard of that before, I’d like to find out more about it in a discussion,” was by far the most frequent comment when our four invited founders of innovative startups took to the stage. Because one thing is clear: You can’t have transformation without innovation!
In fascinating three-minute pitches, we gained insights into four startups that really have their finger on the pulse:
- Moritz Wobith, GLOBE Fuel Cell Systems: Develops digitally networked, hydrogen-powered fuel cell systems
- Dr. Frank Rattey, Planeteers: Sequesters CO2 in the water and unlocks the potential of the oceans as the largest carbon sink on our planet
- Baptiste Légeret: TES – Tree Energy Solutions: Installs solar panels and wind turbines to produce green hydrogen and then combines it with recycled CO2 to produce e-NG (electric natural gas)
- Casten Gieseler, Skermjan: Removes CO2 from the atmosphere and increases biodiversity with the aid of innovative technologies
Playfully presenting paths towards the city of the future: What could the previously discussed approaches look like in practice? Our theme tables – the core of our event – presented this in a playful way. To this end, representatives of different sectors literally sat together at a table and openly discussed possible solutions. Once again, this showed that the individual solutions already exist. What is needed is holistic coupling of the sectors to use synergies effectively and create a comprehensive solution ranging from the building and the district to the city.
Many thanks to all participants who enriched ‘Energy meets Industries’ with fascinating keynotes, open dialogs and lively discussions. It was an inspiring event that gave all of us encouragement and one that we will remember for a long time to come.
It once again demonstrated the importance of cross-sector exchange – which is why we don’t want this event to be a ‘one-hit wonder’.
Next year, ‘Energy meets Industries’ will be held for the second time: On November 6 and 7, 2024 at Entega AG and the Merck Group.
We look forward to it!