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DW: Energy hunger, energy guzzlers and energy providers – #2/2

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Mobility is one of the world’s biggest drivers of energy consumption. The switch to renewable energies will affect people’s everyday lives.

How will we get from A to B when fossil fuel reserves run out in the future? How will we fly around the globe without oil and gas?

Mobility is one of the world’s biggest drivers of energy consumption. The transportation of people and goods by road, rail and air accounts for around 34 percent of total energy consumption. The electrification of mobility has already begun and, as the example of Norway shows, it could be one solution – but not for trucks and industrial vehicles.

Is fuel cell technology a viable alternative here? Japan firmly believes it is. Could electrification also revolutionize air transport?

Siemens and Airbus want to make aviation history here and are working on a regional aircraft with a hybrid electric drive – but it won’t work for long-haul flights.

But scientists from ETH Zurich and the German Aerospace Center are working on a spectacular solution to the long-haul problem: synthetic kerosene from sunlight. An alternative to heavy oil is also being sought for shipping. Neither electric propulsion nor fuel cells will work for gigantic cruise liners and above all for the container ships that account for a large part of world trade.

Methanol, which can be produced sustainably, could be the answer and a large prototype vessel is currently undergoing trials.

In addition to mobility, digitalization is one of the great power guzzlers of the 21st Century.

Streaming services, cloud computing and the Internet of Things are all increasing our energy requirements.

Experts anticipate consumption will increase by around 40% over the next 12 years.

Microsoft’s server farms alone will consume as much electricity as a medium-sized European country.

Where’s that power going to come from? We have to cut back our consumption. This will also apply to our future lives.

The world’s first self-sufficient apartment building is located in Switzerland and shows how you can become energy independent.

The future will be in networked houses that exchange electricity among themselves.

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