Where in Europe will sit there and stand up | Latest news The Moscow Post
14 June 2021

Where in Europe will sit there and stand up

"Hydrogen doctrine," or "eralash" in the heads of European politicians.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will speak at the Climate Leaders Summit, which the United States convenes on April 22 in a video conference format. The leader of Russia will outline approaches to overcoming the negative effects of climate change and the prospects for establishing international cooperation in this direction, the correspondent of The Moscow Post reports.

The international community lacks the gift of foresight. The "magic crystal," even if it were at our disposal, would not be able to compensate for the variability, self-determination, impulsiveness and aggressiveness of human nature. This is especially true for far horizons, such as 2050, when it is planned to bring the goals of the Paris climate agreement closer.

In the very fact of holding the Climate Summit at the initiative of the United States, it looks like an attempt by the White House to apologize for the fact that under the previous masters of American climate policy, Washington literally turned away from the very idea of ​ ​ a collective approach to both the problem and the decisions made in Paris in 2015. Unfortunately, variability and impulsiveness are characteristic of US politics.

These and other "qualities" were fully manifested in attempts by all means to disrupt the Nord Stream-2 project, which, without exaggeration, is in line with the ideas and proposals that will be discussed by the leaders on April 22.

The US is promoting a program to reduce emissions, but without natural gas it is difficult to expect to achieve the goals of low carbon energy, it is impossible to move to a green economy as a whole.

Rufus E. Miles Jr., who died in 1996 at the age of 86, worked as an assistant secretary of state under Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson and six State Department leaders. His daily "encounters with reality" prompted him to formulate the Miles Act, which states: "Where you stand depends on where you sit." This is not only a simple physical given, but also an intuitive ability to combine your own judgments with the point of view of others, idealistic constructions with real possibilities.

For example, the real possibilities of European countries to reduce harmful emissions depend, in particular, on gas imports from Russia and other sources. In the first three months of 2021, Gazprom increased gas exports to Europe by more than 30% to 52.7 billion cubic meters. These deliveries ensured stability in the regional gas market, quotation fluctuations were insignificant. In December, January and February, gas prices in Germany did not exceed $260 per thousand cubic meters, in the markets of Japan, China and South Korea in January, LNG prices exceeded $1000 per thousand cubic meters.

Germany, the largest importer of Russian gas. In 2020, Russia delivered 45.8 billion cubic meters of gas to Germany, the bulk of which came through the Nord Stream gas pipeline. The continuation of the project in the form of Nord Stream 2 will contribute to the "landscaping" of not only German lands, but also neighboring EU countries.

Gazprom is increasing gas exports to China through the Power of Siberia gas pipeline, and is preparing for the construction of the Power of Siberia- 2 gas pipeline. By 2025, gas supplies to China will reach 38 billion cubic meters.

In the energy balance of Russia itself, natural gas occupies a share of 60%. For comparison, in the United States this figure is about 30%, in Western Europe - about 24%.

The undeniable fact remains that the White House's position on Nord Stream 2 contradicts the goals of the Climate Summit. In the apt words of one of the Russian observers, "ideological fidelity for the American side today means more than economic expediency." Add, more than environmental expediency.

The United States is not alone in this regard. In May 2020, Germany published the "hydrogen doctrine," according to which by 2050 almost the entire economy of the country, including industry, will be transferred to hydrogen. By 2050, according to the plans outlined in the doctrine, renewable energy sources (RES) and hydrogen will provide up to 100% of electricity generation in Germany.

Despite Russia's obvious competitive advantage in this relatively new segment of the energy market, Berlin and Brussels do not mention it as a potential partner. It would seem that there is no place for Russian gas. However, the "hydrogen doctrine" is based on the assumption that Germany will rely on existing sources of natural gas imports to import hydrogen.

In 2020, the Russian government adopted the state program "Development of Hydrogen Energy until 2024," has long been developing in the field of production, storage and export of energy hydrogen. By 2025, conditions will be created for the supply of hydrogen to the domestic market and for export.

Rosatom has developed high-temperature water electrolysis technology, Gazprom has developed methane conversion technology with the disposal of associated gases and zero emissions. At the same time, three tons of solid carbon obtained as a by-product of methane pyrolysis can replace 3.7 tons of coking coal.

Rosatom nuclear power plants already have electrolyzers for hydrogen production, Russia also has excess generating capacity, a significant part of which is concentrated in the "clean" resources of hydroelectric power plants. In other words, already in 2025, Russia will be able to produce up to 6 million tons of hydrogen. In 2023-2024, the first buses on hydrogen, tractors, combines, locomotives will appear.

Russia's share in the global hydrogen market in 2030 may amount to 20-25%. In the baseline scenario, hydrogen exports will be about 2 million tons per year. By 2050, the export of environmentally friendly hydrogen will range from 7.9 million tons (conservative scenario) to 33.4 million tons (maximum "green" scenario).

On the way to a green energy future, Europe will have to overcome many technological obstacles that will make clean hydrogen competitive. By 2030, the demand for hydrogen in the EU will reach 16.9 million tons, of which 7.4 million tons is "green" hydrogen, produced exclusively from renewable energy sources. Additionally, 4.4 million tons are expected to be produced in the EU itself, the remaining 3 million tons in Ukraine and North Africa.

The goal of the European Union to "decarbonize" the economy objectively makes it possible to cooperate with Russia at a new technological level. According to Gazprom, three times less electricity is required to produce hydrogen by methane pyrolysis. According to BASF, the savings offered by Gazprom are even higher.

But the European Union is still emphasizing the more expensive "high-temperature electrolysis of water" to produce "green," hydrogen produced on the basis of RES, as if confirming the priority of "ideological fidelity" over "economic feasibility." In other words, the EU bureaucracy aims to replace "dirty" imported natural gas molecules with "clean," albeit expensive, but "local," produced in the European Union on "domestic" equipment. A good approach to international cooperation!

Nevertheless, Miles "Law gives hope:" Where you stand depends on where you sit. " And Europe is not sitting on imported gas, including Russian. In order to realize its "green" energy ideals, almost according to the patterns of the Juche ideology developed by the great Kim Il Sen, the European Union will still have to rely not only on its own forces, but also on Russian natural gas, and then on hydrogen obtained from Russian natural gas using Russian competitive technologies.

The truth in this area, as in the negotiations on security issues in Europe, was tortured by the "difficulties of translation." Euro bureaucrats use the terms "green hydrogen" and "pure hydrogen" as interchangeable. But RES equipment (solar panels, wind generators) are manufactured outside the European Union, including China. This part of the process chain is not green, but remains outside the Eurobuhalteria. Dirty technologies, therefore, are carried outside the EU, make it possible to produce "clean" energy in the European Union. And the fact that the global climate problem is not intra-EU, no one in the EU is especially worried.

It seems that there are differences in the interpretation of the fact of the deployment of Russian armed forces on Russian territory, they de "came too close" to the borders of the "harmless" Ukraine.

The localization of "dirty" technologies in foreign countries for the production of "clean" electricity RES within the EU cannot be a solution to climate problems, is an example of a substitution of concepts.

Ignoring methane pyrolysis technologies in the EU (converting methane to hydrogen without emissions CO2) builds an invisible "civilizational" wall: the concept of "decarbonization" on different sides of this wall is interpreted differently. Translation difficulties, or something!

According to Gazprom experts, when developing hydrogen energy, it is necessary to "observe the principle of technological neutrality, not proceed from geopolitical preferences and fashion trends, but from economic expediency." Indeed, Russia is not mentioned in the European Hydrogen Strategy, but Ukraine is listed, which is supposed to be one of the sources of external hydrogen supplies.

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