Hydrogen as an Energy Carrier: DIE WELT-Interview with Beatriz Roldán Cuenya and Robert Schlögl

March 11, 2020

FHI Directors Prof. Beatriz Roldán Cuenya and Prof. Robert Schlögl were interviewed by German daily newspaper DIE WELT about hydrogen production. In the interview published on March 7th 2020 they talk about progressive fundamental research and the industry’s need to catch up with scientific developments.

Few topics are currently as hotly debated as climate change and the possibilities of stopping it. Sustainable energy generation is an important keyword in this debate. In the field of sustainable energy production interest in hydrogen is rising because of its numerous desirable qualities: it is not toxic, it can be transformed into storable and transportable energy, and it is a zero-emission fuel (unlike fossil fuels, which produce a lot of CO2 when burned). Moreover, hydrogen lends itself to many different usages: it can be utilised in industrial processes as well as power any type of motor vehicle. Due to its varied applications, it has also sparked political interest. The Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier hat recently presented a National Hydrogen Strategy as part of the government’s energy transition plan. 

Prof. Beatriz Roldán Cuenya and Prof. Robert Schlögl, Directors of the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society, are experts in this field as they have studied the functionality of catalysts needed for hydrogen production for many years. They talked to Dr. Norbert Lossau, a science journalist for DIE WELT, about why hydrogen is an important future energy carrier. The interview was published on Saturday, March 7th 2020.

Both Beatriz Roldán Cuenya and Robert Schlögl stress the importance of the fundamental research carried out at the Fritz Haber Institute, especially in the area of catalysis. The production of hydrogen as well as synthetic fuels depends on the efficiency of special catalysts needed for the relevant chemical reactions. Much progress was made in this field in the last 15 years, says Roldán Cuenya. The catalysts that are currently studied are already very effective, adds Schlögl, but their life span needs to be increased, and the stability of electrochemical cells also requires improvement. From a scientific and technological point of view, both Directors are optimistic about future large-scale hydrogen production – if the scientific findings are implemented on an industrial level.

Read the interview with Beatriz Roldán Cuenya and Robert Schlögl in DIE WELT online.

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