German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA) has initiated a campaign known as "Emission0 – on the way to 2050" in order to raise awareness about the potential of the internal combustion engine to reform green energy.
The objective of this campaign is to show how internal combustion engines can be operated with lower emissions and without harming the climate.
The initiative consists of 10 missions that present options for the use and capabilities of an internal combustion engine to move towards an environmentally friendly energy production.
Mission 1: climate protection.
Climate protection is a major challenge of our time. It is essential to focus efforts on counteracting global warming and its consequences. Special attention should be given to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2).
Mission 2: internal combustion engines as an alternative source of renewable energy.
Internal combustion engines are capable of quick starts and therefore can respond flexibly to power fluctuations of renewable energy sources. A wide range of capacities and modular design of combustion engine plants allow the use of power plants of different sizes that are better suited for decentralized usage.
The combustion engine has proven its durability and reliability over the decades now and does not produce any CO2 emissions when it comes to the utilization of the engine. It is the traditional fossil fuels that are responsible for CO2 emissions while the engine is in operation.
Mission 3: chemical energy carriers.
Chemical energy carriers are easy to store and transport using existing infrastructure. They alone can ensure the required energy density in various applications.
Mission 4: zero-carbon operation of internal combustion engines.
Internal combustion engines convert regeneratively produced renewable chemical energy carriers efficiently and carbon-neutrally into mechanical energy. This means that existing engines also can be operated on a CO2-neutral basis.
Mission 5: renewable fuel.
For existing engines, switching from fossil fuel to a renewable one is the fastest way to radically reduce their carbon footprint.
Mission 6: exhaust gas aftertreatment.
Efficient exhaust gas aftertreatment eliminates harmful emissions from the combustion of regeneratively produced renewable chemical energy carriers.
Mission 7: reduction of methane emissions.
To fully prevent any negative impacts on climate change, technological solution for methane slip, which is known as uncontrolled escape of CH4 from gas engines into the atmosphere, will be available at the latest by the end of the decade.
Mission 8: gas-fired power plants.
Gas-fired power plants have a strong track record of great performance. Most of them are capable of converting natural gas into electricity. With their operation flexibility, these power plants are of major importance in the context of the energy transition and the coal phase-out. When it comes to a unit of energy produced, the direct CO2 emissions of natural gas are about 40% lower than those of coal.
Mission 9: CO2-free renewable hydrogen.
At the heart of this future energy system is hydrogen, and to be more precise "green hydrogen" which is produced by electrolysis of water with electricity from renewable energy sources. Regeneratively produced hydrogen does not contain CO2. It can be used directly or converted into electrofuel/synthetic fuel that can power internal combustion engines in a climate-friendly manner. Thanks to Power-to-X (P2X) technology, ecologically pure electrical energy in the form of chemical energy carriers can be stored for quite a long time.
Mission 10: hydrogen, 100% produced from renewable sources ensures climate neutrality. Starting from 2025, new stationary internal combustion engines for power and heat generation will be ready for operation using pure hydrogen (H2).
These days, internal combustion engines mainly run on natural gas and therefore produce CO2 emissions. By generating electricity and heat from hydrogen, they will stop harming the climate and that would play a vital role in protecting the climate and the environment.
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