Energy transition to sustainable fuels

Energy transition to sustainable fuels

What is climate change and how does it affect the Magallanes and Chilean Antarctic Region?

The United Nations defines climate change as the long-term changes in temperatures and weather patterns that, although they may be natural, today are mainly produced by the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, or gas, which produce the so-called greenhouse effect.  But climate change is not just about rising temperatures. It also causes other global effects such as intense droughts, water shortages, serious fires, or sea level rises.

Climate change has global effects, so what happens in other geographical areas also directly affects our country and the region, generating rising temperatures, melting ice, and changing the characteristics of vegetation and water bodies.

The scientific community has determined that the main climatic changes are being evidenced in areas of high latitudes, such as Magallanes and the Chilean Antarctic. Therefore, our region has the opportunity to become a natural laboratory that allows measuring the different effects of global climate change and designing adaptation mechanisms. It also has a responsibility to mitigate the causes of climate change, given its potential to develop energies that replace fossil fuels.

In Chile, there is a Climate Risk Atlas (Arclim), prepared and updated by the Ministry of the Environment, which projects the climate threats to 2060, if the current climate change trend continues.  The effects on our region can be seen there. If you want to know more, click on this link.

What is the energy transition?

This is a very simple concept and means changing how energy is produced and consumed with the aim of reducing fossil fuel use –and greenhouse gas emissions– and replacing it with so-called sustainable fuels.

It is important to note that for the transition to be effective, it must be implemented on a global scale and by a wide variety of industries. This way it would effectively replace polluting fuels with sustainable ones.

The energy industry, which generates more than 75% of Greenhouse Gases, has a key role to play in this transition both in the development and global distribution of new sustainable fuels, and in supporting industries, economic sectors, and governments to transition to them, generating new investments, and modifying their production models to make them more sustainable in the long term.

What are sustainable fuels?

They are fuels that are not based on fossil fuels but are produced from renewable sources. These types of energies, especially if they are used on an industrial scale and replace fossil fuels, are one of the most effective measures to reduce climate change.  

Sustainable Hydrogen and Ammonia

Sustainable hydrogen –also known as green hydrogen– is produced by electrolysis, i.e., the separation of water molecules using electrical energy from renewable and non-polluting sources (such as wind, solar or hydraulic energy), so neither its production nor its use generates greenhouse gases.

Thanks to this, producing this type of fuel allows replacing other contaminating ones that are produced by using fossil fuels.

Meanwhile, green ammonia is a green hydrogen derivative, which is manufactured by combining green hydrogen with nitrogen extracted from the air.

Ammonia is a product whose transportation and management can be done with existing shipping and infrastructure, and which is already regulated in much of the world. It can be used to replace fertilizers that are manufactured using fossil fuels and/or as an energy that does not emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.