David Smeulders. Professor TU Eindhoven: ‘Now from the gas only leads to more CO2 emissions’
EINDHOVEN – The Netherlands ; If we now stop using natural gas, CO2 emissions will only increase, says TU / e professor David Smeulders.
Incomprehension and miscalculation. They are words that regularly fall into a conversation with David Smeulders about the haste the government wants the households of the gas to have and the apparent arguments that are used for that. The TU / e Professor of Mechanical Engineering is providing a ‘second Betuwe line’.
According to Smeulders, the climate agenda is dominated by people who are insufficiently familiar with the subject matter and have failed to call in experts. “Innovation is underexposed and that is bad news for our region”.
He is surprised at the lack of scientific substantiation in the entire energy discussion. “Before the climate agreement came about, climate tables were organized where all kinds of parties were allowed to speak. But scientists were not asked enough for that. Rational arguments have been insufficiently heard. But I think that we as scientists have the task to speak and say: think about it before you act. “
“Recently, new residential areas may no longer be connected to the gas grid. But there is no need at present to switch to electricity; in fact, that is even undesirable. Solar and wind energy are, of course, cleaner sources, but only a small percentage of our electricity is supplied by solar panels and windmills. The rest is still coming from coal and gas plants. If we start from the gas now CO2 emissions will only increase, “he reckons, a simple calculation that the government has forgotten to make.
He is also surprised because our households are only responsible for a very small part of our gas consumption. “It’s just a drop on the ocean. If you read the climate agreement, you see that the Netherlands currently has 9 Gigawatts of gas plants but that this will be expanded to 25 Gigawatts by 2050. We will therefore use more gas in the future, “emphasizes Smeulders.” Only that gas does not go to private homes but to power plants, which you will not hear from the government, as well as about the energy-guzzling industries, shipping companies and airlines.) Kerosene for airplanes and fuel oil for ships are not even included in CO2 emissions, which is completely unrealistic “
The reason that the Dutch government now suddenly wants to get rid of the gas, according to Smeulders, has everything to do with the situation in Groningen. “Something had to happen under pressure from public opinion. But no longer drilling for gas Groningen has nothing to do with the climate agreement. That gas can remain quiet in the Groningen soil. We do not need that at all. We can import gas from Norway or America. And we have our own gas fields in the North Sea. That is high-calorific, but we have the means to convert it to gas that is suitable for our boilers. In fact, in the past we used high-calorific gas, but in the sixties we converted all the stoves to use low-calorific gas. Now we can do the opposite. “
The professor is strongly opposed to the current heat pumps. “Everyone needs to heat pumps now, but they make a lot of noise and use too much energy. Gas is the cleanest energy source that we currently have available, “concludes Smeulders. “Switching to sustainable electricity is obviously the right direction, but first we have to make sure that we can generate and store enough renewable energy and then release the gas. And we certainly should not break down our infrastructure for gas. Because in the future we might want to use it again to transport sustainable fuels, such as ‘solar fuels’ or hydrogen that are currently being used. “
Smeulders proposes a different approach to limit CO2 emissions. “Install PVT panels, which generate both electricity and heat, connect heating networks and shut down coal-fired power stations in consultation with other countries. Those of the Netherlands are the best in the world. It is absurd to close it first while those in other countries are much more polluting. Think European, trade locally. And do not phase out the gas grid, not even with households. Soon we will have solar gas: this is now being worked on at the TU / e as well as at the Eindhoven research institute Differ.