Global energy demand is rising and will have doubled by 2050, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). This increase is being driven by increasing industrialisation in emerging economies as well as by the growing world population. Although only around 15 percent of the world's population resides in industrial nations, it currently accounts for half of global energy consumption every year.
Despite the fact that nobody can predict the consequences of climate change with complete certainty at this point, we are already aware of the risks. The German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) puts a EUR 137 billion price tag on damage resulting from climate change by 2050 in Germany alone if corrective measures are not implemented in time.
However, we are currently faced by an energy dilemma – or better yet – a trilemma:
On the one hand, we must comply with climate protection goals; on the other hand, the rising world population is contributing to increased global energy consumption, especially in emerging economies. The third factor, however, is that new energies must remain affordable. According to IEA energy experts, the solution does not lie in one single energy technology or resource but in a balanced, ecologically and economically sound energy mix.
We can achieve this by diversifying the sources of energy we use as well as converting to renewable resources.
Among other things, Linde's innovative CO2 management technologies are helping drive the transition to new forms of energy sourcing and utilisation that impact the environment as little as possible.
The company is actively involved, for example, in developing the essential process technologies that capture CO2 emitted by coal-fired power plants during combustion.
To recover and deliver natural gas reserves in an eco- and climate-friendly manner, Linde engineers are busy building natural gas treatment and liquefaction plants around the world. In the USA, Linde built the world's largest plant for converting landfill gas into eco-friendly biogas, which converts the harmful landfill gases into a gas that can be appropriately used. Fossil fuels can be replaced, for example, by bio-oil generated from CO2 and sunlight acting on specially modified algae.
We are also a leader in the hydrogen refuelling technology; together with partners from the automotive industry, we are driving the development of a hydrogen refuelling infrastructure.
These and other "Clean Technologies" help turn the costs involved in climate protection into wise investments that secure our future. Measures to combat climate change are creating new market opportunities such as technologies that enable CO2-neutral energy generation as well as goods and services with a more efficient carbon balance. With energy-efficiency technologies and eco-friendly energy sourcing solutions, The Linde Group will continue to make a solid and lasting contribution to the battle against climate change.