According to Diederik Samsom, Head of Cabinet of EU commissioner Frans Timmermans, the momentum for a strong European climate policy is better than ever. Offshore wind is doing well, hydrogen is on its way, but the circular economy still seems to be a decade behind. Sense of urgency has yet to come.
Samsom is optimistic about Europe’s strength. Offshore wind has got off the ground here after all. And batteries are doing well too. The European Battery Alliance is already producing its first results. We also want to repeat that with hydrogen. That is why we are now fully committed to electrolysis technology. Europe has realised that its model requires a great deal of extra effort in order to achieve results. From the Green Deal we are giving extra impetus to this.
Samsom is very pleased with the plans of European gas transport companies to construct a continental hydrogen backbone. Three-quarters of that could consist of current natural gas connections. If you can refit existing gas pipelines to transport large quantities of hydrogen through them, you will make a huge step forward. The advantage of hydrogen over electricity is that it is easier to store and cheaper to transport over long distances. But you still have to make it’.
Part of the European Green Deal is also the raw materials issue, including the recycling of materials. ‘If you have an infinite amount of energy at your disposal, you can stamp all the plastics back into their original chemical building blocks. But that is not the case. That’s why we devote ourselves to other ways of recycling plastics, without breaking them down completely. Then you make a much shorter turn.’
Sence of urgency
Only a small part of the plastics is still being reused. I think the circular economy is still a decade behind sustainable energy. I am still waiting for a sense of urgency. Plastics are still piled up too much in the open air. I hope that the chemical industry and other sectors involved will soon pull their weight in this area too. As is already happening in the field of energy efficiency, sustainability and, for example, electrification’.
European industry & Energy Summit
On December 8th, Diederik Samsom will be guest at the opening of the European Industry & Energy Summit 2020 Online. On 8 and 9 December, various plenary talk shows and break-outs will be held from the Kromhouthal Amsterdam, Plant One Rotterdam, Nijlicht Eemshaven and Chemelot/Brightsite. All at Industrial clusters in the Netherlands. It is also possible to network extensively in a special app. Registration (free of charge, pay as you like) is possible on this site.