Is Hydrogen the answer in quest for clean energy economy? H ydrogen, which has been overlooked for decades by Germany’s energy planners, is gaining ground as alternative to fossil fuels as the nation scrambles to recover lost ground on its climate promises. From government officials to utilities and power grid operators, hydrogen is being touted as a cleaner way to break Germany’s dependence on coal. Germany’s Economy Ministry has unveiled 20 labs to research the fuel, and natural gas pipeline owners have asked for rules that would allow them to carry more of the lightest element. Hydrogen releases only water when burned and therefore is considered cleaner than coal, oil or gas, which emit greenhouse gases. That’s already prompted policymakers in Japan, the China and Britain to encourage using hydrogen. Germany is already home to the first hydrogen-powered train, but it was only in July that Economy Ministry Peter Altmaier declared his goal for the nation to become “the number one in the world” for the technology. Many believe what has held back hydrogen and a green alternative for decades is the cost and complexity of the technology. Current production methods are expensive, and the fuel is volatile and highly flammable. However, hydrogen is now seen as an important option to fill the energy gap left from the impending closure of nuclear stations and the phaseout of coal-fired power.
Households cutting the cord on traditional TV P eople are not watching TV the way they used to and data is showing that viewers cutting their ties with cable is on the rise and the trend is not about to change. According to data by the market research company, eMarketer, nearly 25% of households will ditch traditional television by 2022. This year alone, approximately 19% of American households have cut ties to cable companies moving to alternatives like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, all offering vast amounts of content for far less than cable subscriptions are a huge reason for the decline. The cable companies are well aware of these trends and that is why those that also offer broadband internet, usually as part of a bundled deal, are now charging higher price for internet and improve their own profit margins, much like they did when the people moved from traditional phone to mobile.
Oil versus green alternatives battle continues O il still has ‘massive’ scale advantage over green alternatives like solar and wind. In 2018, as oil supplied 33% of global energy with only 3% from wind and solar. However, wind and solar power can produce seven times more useful energy for cars, dollar for dollar, than gasoline with oil prices at their current levels, according to BNP Paribas SA. With that said oil will have to fall to $9-$10 a barrel in the long-term in order for gasoline cars to remain competitive with clean-powered electric vehicles, and to $17-$19 a barrel for diesel, Mark Lewis, global head of sustainability research at BNP’s asset management unit, said in a research report.
12 SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS MAGAZINE • SEPTEMBER 2019
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