【DE】Offshore Dialogue at SMM: Sea Watt for lower emissions

Rising sea levels, dwindling biodiversity, higher temperature: The oceans are suffering from the consequences of climate change. A quick change of direction is required. At the same time, electricity generation on the water is considered a great source of hope – also for the maritime energy transition. At the Offshore Dialogue as part of the SMM, experts explore opportunities for the sustainable use of the seas. The world’s leading maritime trade fair will take place from the 6th to the 9th. September 2022 in Hamburg.



Photo: hamburg-messe.de


Renewable energies are very popular: By 2045, the federal government wants to increase the capacity of offshore wind energy almost tenfold. Wind farms in the North Sea and Baltic Sea are to come to 70 gigawatts. The European Commission is even planning with 340 GW by 2050. The construction of the plants is a technical, logistical and financial Hercules task – and urgently needed. On the one hand, to become independent of Russian gas, on the other hand, to drastically reduce emissions.


Shipping is also dependent on the steel giants on its way to climate neutrality: “The massive expansion of wind energy on land and at sea is a prerequisite for the production of alternative fuels for shipping,” says Claus Ulrich Selbach, Head of Maritime and Technology Fairs at Hamburg Messe und Congress. Whether methanol or ammonia: Synthetic fuels are only really sustainable based on “green” hydrogen, i.e. if they are obtained from renewable energies.


The huge challenge: The offshore wind turbines are to be built 30 to 40 kilometers off the coasts – anchored at a depth of up to 40 meters. Can this even be realized without harming the sensitive ecosystem? Among other things, a top-class panel of experts at the Offshore Dialogue (OD) discusses this. The international conference will take place on the 8th. September as part of the SMM.


data is power


The seas are an endangered habitat. The UN is taking the initiative here with the so-called “Ocean Decade”: transnational solutions for the protection and sustainable use of the seas are to be implemented by 2030. The ocean is of enormous importance to us on earth, because it regulates the climate and slows down global warming through man-made greenhouse gas emissions. The impact of climate change on the oceans and coastal regions is serious and we urgently need to act to improve the situation in the seas,” says Dr. Steffen Knodt, board member of the Ocean Decade Committee (ODK). At the OD, Knodt gives an overview of the national and international activities of the committee.


Safe and fast


Findings from regions that suffer particularly badly from climate change are particularly important for climate research. The Arctic, for example, warms up three times as fast as the average of the world. In order to obtain such data, the researchers have to fight their way through the thick layers of ice with special ships. Lasse Rabenstein and his start-up Drift + Noise help the expedition teams. At the OD, the co-founder “IcySea” presents an ice information app. “We provide our customers with high-resolution satellite images of the polar regions around the clock. And they can be received with minimal bandwidth. The range of services also includes a forecasting system for the best possible route through the ice,” says Rabenstein. The doctorate in geophysicist himself has more than 15 years of operational experience in the polar regions. With its app, the start-up has already supported the crew of the AWI research ship Polarstern. Thanks to the satellite images, we were able to identify open water channels in the ice sheet and thus shorten a trip that otherwise lasts four days to two. With daily operating costs of 70,000 euros, a significant saving that should be interesting for commercial shipping. At the Offshore Dialogue, Rabenstein talks about the increase in ice-free days in the Arctic – which is why more ships will probably use the Northwest Passage in the future.


Energy from the sea


Fishermen, researchers, merchant and cruise ships: There is a lot going on off the coasts. A rapidly growing element is involved with the offshore wind farms. One of the largest operators in the world with 2.4 GW offshore wind turbines is the German energy group RWE. “We would like to invest much faster,” but funding applications would “last too long,” complains RWE boss Markus Krebber. Unlike the Netherlands, Germany has no clear goal for the hydrogen industry. Dr.-Ing. outlines how the group envisages the energy production of the future. Bernadette Zipfel, Team Lead Engineering Management Future Technologies.


Prof. Dr.-Ing. Martin Kaltschmitt from the Technical University of Hamburg (TUHH). Offshore wind energy is becoming increasingly important. In the medium term, this probably also applies to offshore hydrogen production in order to transport and have the electrical energy generated far off the coast as efficiently as possible on land.” The expert at the Offshore Dialogue explains what he thinks makes sense here.


A big issue is also the form of energy storage. Dr. Walter Kuehnlein, consultant and founder of the start-up terra.blue, shows various options in his lecture. Kuehnlein leads this year together with the CEO Prof. Dr. Sören Ehlers from the Society for Maritime Technology (GMT) through the Offshore Dialogue.


“I am pleased to welcome so many bright minds to the conference. At SMM, we are focusing a special focus on hydrogen for the first time. With the subsequent WindEnergy Hamburg and the H2 EXPO & CONFERENCE, we want to make Hamburg the international capital of the hydrogen industry, says Claus Ulrich Selbach. The two events will take place from the 27th to the 30th. September 2022.



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