Germany and Russia to work on hydrogen

Russia and Germany will jointly implement projects in hydrogen energy. The corresponding agreement was reached by the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Alexander Novak with the Minister of Economy and Energy of the Federal Republic of Germany Peter Altmeier

The meeting was also attended by the Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation Denis Manturov, the rector of the St. Petersburg Mining University Vladimir Litvinenko and the ex-Minister of the Federal Republic of Germany Klaus Toepfer, according to the website of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Russian Federation.

“We agreed that it is important to make joint projects in hydrogen energy. The Prime Minister of the Federal State of Saxony (FRG) Michael Kretschmer recently visited. He proposed joint projects in the field of hydrogen, ” Novak said at the meeting.

“I will give instructions to the Ministry of Energy of Russia so that we jointly propose one or two projects from which we would start,” added the Deputy Prime Minister, whose words are quoted in the release of the Cabinet. According to the Deputy Prime Minister, it is necessary to continue working on joint energy projects.

A German company is already working with Gazprom on this issue.

Meanwhile, Wintershall Dea and Gazprom are discussing the possibility of transporting hydrogen through the existing gas transmission system. The head of the German company, Mario Mehren, told about this in an interview with the corporate magazine of the Russian holding.

“As part of the Science and Technology Cooperation Program between Gazprom and Wintershall Dea, specialists from our companies and joint ventures are discussing current innovative projects in order to find ideas and jointly develop solutions,” Meren explained.

“This initiative has been around for almost 30 years. And it is one of the largest and most intensive exchange formats of this kind, ”said the head of Wintershall Dea. He stressed that during the pandemic, this work continued in an online format.

“For example, in recent months, there has been intense discussion of the possibility of adapting the existing pipeline infrastructure for the transportation of hydrogen. And the use of decarbonized solutions in our joint gas transportation business. Hopefully, soon we will be able to report on new projects in this area, ” Meren added .

In addition, Wintershall Dea and Gazprom are planning a campaign to measure methane emissions. The goal is to reduce the intensity of these emissions during gas production. The partners also plan to jointly develop measures to improve the energy efficiency of compressor stations.

“I am convinced that international partnership will continue to play an important role in the future. And thanks to joint efforts to decarbonize the energy sector, we will be able to further strengthen and expand the successful Russian-German cooperation, ”Meren concluded.

A Heat Wave Left Arctic Sea Ice Near a Record Winter Low. This Town Is Paying the Price

The second-lowest winter sea ice extent on record has isolated Bering Sea native communities and put coastal residents at the mercy of storms and wave


ANCHORAGE, Alaska _ It wasn’t long ago that planes would land on the ice surrounding Little Diomede Island, in the middle of the Bering Sea off Alaska.

This year, gigantic waves were crashing on its shores in the middle of winter.

“Now, the ice conditions are so unfavorable—or there’s no ice at all—they can’t land a plane out there,” said Brandon Ahmasuk, the subsistence director for Kawerak, a regional nonprofit that assists Bering Strait communities. That means the 80 to 100 people who live on the island can be isolated for long stretches during winter’s cold, dark months.

On Friday, the National Snow and Ice Data Center announced that Arctic sea ice had reached its maximum winter extent for the year on March 17—its second lowest on record, just behind 2017.

Arctic sea ice grows through the winter and typically reaches its maximum extent across the region in mid-March, then starts to shrink toward a minimum, typically reached in September. For years, as global temperatures have risen, scientists have watched closely as summer sea ice levels dropped to record and near-record lows.

“The four lowest (winter maximum) extents have happened in the last four years,” NSDIC Director Mark Serreze said. “What it’s telling me is that the Arctic is really getting hit on both the summer and the winter side.”

Low Sea Ice Means Big Risks for Little Diomede

Along the Bering Sea, where ice formation limped along this season, communities that are normally protected by coastal ice packed in along the shore were left exposed to open water and the ravages of high winds and storm waves.

The community on Little Diomede—a traditional Ingalikmiut Eskimo village—relies on subsistence hunting. The lack of sea ice means planes can no longer land there to connect them to mainland Alaska. That leaves them with weekly helicopter flights to bring in goods or to transport passengers, but the flights don’t necessarily happen every week. “Getting on and off that island is pretty hard,” said Ahmasuk. “If you do get out there, you might get stuck for a month or more.”

Most locals use a lightweight, 18-20 foot boat for fishing and hunting, said Ahmasuk. The sides are low—just 28 or so inches. “Now, you’re in open ocean with 18-20 foot swells at your back, and it makes the conditions dangerous,” he said. “But people still have to put food on the table.”

Another ‘Weird’ Arctic Heat Wave

The lack of sea ice in the Bering Sea is partially responsible for the overall low ice levels in the Arctic this year. A February heat wave blasted across the Arctic, melting more than a third of the Bering Sea’s ice in just over a week. This was the fourth year in a row that the Arctic has seen an extreme heat wave, according to NSDIC.

When the Arctic hit its maximum extent this year, satellites measured it at 448,000 square miles below the historical average from 1981-2010. That’s just over the size of Texas and California combined.

“To see this kind of stuff happening over these past four winters … Arctic ocean heat waves are just weird,” said Serreze, who has been studying sea ice since the 1980s. “I’ve never seen something like that.”

In Alaska’s farthest-north community, Utqiagvik (formerly known as Barrow), there is open ocean not far from the shore. Meanwhile, the town has seen abnormally high snow levels. “I’ve not seen this much snow in a while,” said Herman Ahsoak, a whaling captain there.

Soon, Ahsoak will head out with his crew to start cutting through the ice to reach the water’s edge so they can begin the spring whale hunt. He said reports from other captains is that the ice is young this year—meaning it’s thinner than ice that survives through multiple seasons—but that it has piled up in a way that is favorable to hauling a large whale up. “It’s young ice, but it got pushed into shore pretty good,” he said. “I’ll find out more when I get out there.”


Sabrina Shankman

Sabrina Shankman is a reporter for InsideClimate News focusing on the Arctic. She joined ICN in the fall of 2013, after helping produce documentaries and interactives for the PBS show “Frontline” since 2010 with 2over10 Media. She is the author of the ICN book “Meltdown: Terror at the Top of the World,” and was named a finalist for the Livingston Awards for Young Journalists for that work. Shankman has a Masters in Journalism from UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.