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Recommendations for the bachelor’s degree in chemistry at universities

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Digital teaching, research data management and sustainability in focus.

The Chemistry Study Commission of the German Chemical Society (GDCh) presents new, updated recommendations for the bachelor’s program in chemistry at universities. In addition to the content of the chemistry subject areas, new aspects of digital teaching, research data management and sustainability in particular have been taken into account.

The updated recommendations are primarily concerned with cataloging essential scientific content and knowledge that should be taught in all university bachelor’s degree programs in chemistry. The catalog of topics is intended to help ensure the continued high quality of chemistry studies throughout Germany. Of course, the commission assumes that individual university locations will additionally set individual focal points.

The commission attaches particular importance to ensuring that the steady increase in detailed knowledge does not lead to a reduction in practical laboratory training. It is essential for later professional qualification that experimentation, observation and evaluation of experimental results are given sufficient time in the course of study.

“Digital teaching media also complement modern chemistry studies, but can in no way replace practical training. The proportion of practical work in chemistry studies is about 35-50 percent.”

– Professor Dr. Peter R. Schreiner, GDCh President and Chairman of the Study Commission

Due to the central importance of the UN Sustainable Development Goals for chemistry in research and industrial application as well as the political and social discussion, content in the sense of sustainable development should also be integrated into existing courses or taught in new ones in the future.

In addition, digitization in modern chemistry courses requires competencies in the handling of data, digital teaching content and research data management already at bachelor level. This requires an addition of data science tools including chemistry informatics basics to the course content. New digital tools enable much more competency-based teaching and learning scenarios. However, creating digital teaching media and concepts in a chemical context requires resources that should not be underestimated.

For successful science communication, students should not only have sound specialist knowledge, but also be able to convey facts adapted to the respective target group, taking into account the social significance of the respective topic. In the respective courses, it is therefore advisable to increasingly establish references to social issues and everyday aspects. This linking of factual topics with the social context sensitizes students to possible problems and solutions through chemistry and promotes fact-oriented communication.

For decades, interdisciplinary study committees of the GDCh have been developing recommendations for the “Basic Studies in Chemistry”. While the focus at the end of the 1990s was on the successful conversion of diploma courses to bachelor’s and master’s courses, today the aim is to adapt the bachelor’s course to current developments at regular intervals and to keep it fit for the future.

The current GDCh Study Commission also includes members of the Conference of Chemistry Departments (KFC), the GDCh Working Group of German University Professors of Chemistry (ADUC), the Bunsen Society for Physical Chemistry (DBG), Dechema, the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI), the Theoretical Chemistry Working Group, the GDCh Young Chemists Forum (JCF) and the GDCh specialist groups.

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Working together for low-cost as well as low-carbon hydrogen

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Emerson, a well-known provider of industrial software and technology, today announced it has entered into a multi-year strategic framework agreement with BayoTech, an innovator in hydrogen solutions, to accelerate the delivery of hydrogen worldwide. Under this agreement, the company will provide advanced automation technology, software and products to help BayoTech build hundreds of hydrogen generators to produce cleaner, lower-cost hydrogen.

“Industries and organizations worldwide are seeking sustainable solutions to address their most pressing problems. The agreement between Emerson and BayoTech accelerates the development and adoption of hydrogen at scale, which is a game changer for diversifying our global energy mix.”

– Mike Train, Chief Sustainability Officer

The modular hydrogen generators produce up to 1,000 kilograms per day, an amount sufficient to power up to 200 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. This special patented technology requires fewer raw materials to produce hydrogen, generating fewer carbon emissions and reducing costs compared to conventional reformers. To meet the growing demand for hydrogen, BayoTech is using its core technology to develop 5-, 10- and 20-ton generators that will lead to further efficiency improvements. Combined with Emerson’s programmable logic controllers and edge control technologies, remote monitoring capability and Microsoft Azure IoT Suite, the unmanned, fully autonomous skids can be operated and monitored from the company’s headquarters in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

“The company’s goal is to become the world’s largest distributed hydrogen generator,” said Mo Vargas, CEO. “Emerson’s advanced technology is the right choice to support our vision of replacing the established centralized hydrogen supply chain with a new, highly efficient model of local autonomous production centers.”

“The agreement between the two companies will make hydrogen technology accessible to more places around the world,” said Linh Austin, COO. “As we build a sustainable – and more cost-effective – global hydrogen supply chain, we are jointly developing a solution that will reduce the carbon footprint of countless customers.”

The hydrogen generators are already under construction and will be deployed at hydrogen centers, U.S. customer sites and other locations worldwide. These centers will deliver locally produced hydrogen to nearby customers via BayoTech’s high-pressure gas transport and storage facilities. Using the facilities, three times more hydrogen can be transported per trip than with conventional steel pipe trailers. The higher payloads result in lower transportation costs, higher driver productivity and reduced carbon emissions.

The strategic framework agreement supports Emerson’s commitment to providing innovative technologies and industry expertise in the rapidly evolving hydrogen sector. Climate-friendly hydrogen has diverse energy and non-energy uses, ranging from renewable energy storage to fueling heavy-duty vehicles. The use of hydrogen enables numerous industries to choose clean energy as a cost-effective solution to their business needs.

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Efficient and safe transport of hydrogen

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Bilfinger and Hydrogenious LOHC Technologies (“Hydrogenious LOHC”) are entering into a strategic partnership, combining their complementary expertise. They aim to make green hydrogen commercially available on a large scale in Europe by offering a turnkey, stationary Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier (LOHC) plant infrastructure based on Hydrogenious’ proprietary technology. For the owners or operators of these systems of hydrogen storage and hydrogen release facilities, the partners intend to provide one-stop engineering, procurement, construction (EPC) and maintenance services. Another common goal is the marketing of LOHC plants.

“As long-term partners on an equal footing, we want to help drive the energy transition forward. Green hydrogen plays a crucial role as a sustainable energy source for our customers and for European countries to achieve their climate targets. With the appropriate scaling, Hydrogenious’ LOHC technology can become a forward-looking solution for this.”

– Christina Johansson, Interim CEO and CFO

“With the company, we gain our partner of choice for the turnkey construction of large-scale LOHC plants with comprehensive expertise in engineering, assembly and maintenance,” said Dr. Daniel Teichmann, founder and CEO of Hydrogenious LOHC Technologies. “Our partnership positions us perfectly for the market ramp-up in the hydrogen economy. By further improving the competitiveness of our technology through scale-up and standardization, all players in the future green hydrogen value chains will benefit.”

For the flexible transport of hydrogen, the technology is both an efficient and safe solution: In the StoragePLANTS, hydrogen is chemically bonded to the LOHC material benzyltoluene, a thermal oil. This carrier oil can be transported under ambient conditions in conventional logistics infrastructures comparable to the delivery of e.g. crude oil or diesel. Once at the hydrogen consumer, the hydrogen is released from the LOHC in a ReleasePLANT (in appropriate purity as needed), while the carrier material is reused many hundreds of times in the cycle. Thus, Hydrogenious LOHC technology has significant advantages over other technologies for transporting hydrogen.

The company had shipped its first LOHC storage and release systems for commercial uses to the U.S. in 2018. A demonstration plant was previously in operation at Fraunhofer IAO in Stuttgart. Construction of an industrial-scale LOHC storage PLANT at Chempark Dormagen is scheduled to begin in 2023/2024 – at the same time the world’s largest facility of its kind (hydrogen storage in LOHC: approx. 1,800 metric tons per year). For the construction of the plant, Bilfinger will provide services in the areas of basic engineering, civil engineering and support with applications for permits at the chemical park.

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Hydrogen essential for the future

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Hydrogen plays an indispensable role in future economic development – this is the unanimous opinion in the countries surveyed. The development of hydrogen is essential for the economy of the future, according to 64 percent of Germans. The number of those who agree is even higher in Austria, at 67 percent. The Swiss rank just behind Germany with 63 percent, and 53 percent of the French are also of this opinion.

All the age groups surveyed in Germany regard hydrogen as an important pillar of the economic future. The figure is highest among the over-55s at 67 percent, followed by the 45-54s at 65 percent. Among 18-24 year-olds, the figure is 59 percent. This is especially true for those segments of the population that said they are strongly or very strongly interested in politics: 76 percent of those surveyed who are strongly interested and 78 percent of those who are very interested consider hydrogen to be forward-looking for the economy.

The assessment also holds across party lines: 72 percent of respondents who voted CDU/CSU in 2017, 68 percent of SPD voters, 69 percent of Left voters, 73 percent of Green voters and 74 percent of FDP voters, as well as 70 percent of AFD voters value the development of hydrogen as essential to the future of the economy. Economy does not work without jobs. Renewable energy will provide the jobs in the future.

“Do you know the job and training opportunities in the renewable energy sector?” was another question asked in the international YouGov survey commissioned by the Hydrogen Business for Climate forum. Forty percent of the Germans surveyed answered “yes” to this question. Among 18-24 year-olds, the figure was as high as 49 percent, while those over 55 had the lowest level of knowledge at 34 percent.

Political interest also goes hand in hand with interest in new job sectors. For example, the results of the survey show that only 13 percent of Germans who are not at all interested in politics knew about jobs in the sector, compared with 54 percent of those who are very interested. In Austria, as many as 51 percent of all respondents knew about job and training opportunities in the renewable energy sector, while the rate was 55 percent among 18-34 year-olds, and even those over 55 are well informed in Austria, with 51 percent of respondents.

The Swiss were similarly well informed, with 51 percent saying they knew about job and training opportunities, rising to 57 percent among 18-34 year olds, and even among 55 plus, 51 percent are still well informed. In France, the number of those who know about jobs in the renewable energy industry was particularly high among 18-24 year olds at 60 percent.  Students are the best informed, with 62 percent of respondents

Your own career in the renewable industry? There is still work to be done to convince them

How pronounced is the interest in pursuing one’s own career in the renewable energy sector. This question made it clear that companies and the state still need to do some convincing: 23 percent of the Germans surveyed showed interest in pursuing a career in the renewable energy sector. In contrast, 49 percent were not interested. Interest was most pronounced among 25-34 year-old and 35-44 year-old Germans, at 36 and 32 percent respectively. Students showed strong interest with 41 percent. As many as 27 percent of 18-24 year-olds who do not currently see a career for themselves in this sector could imagine doing so in the future if they had more information. Among 25-34 year olds, 21 percent held this view, and among 35-44 year olds, 23 percent.

“Renewable energy, like hydrogen, is creating the jobs of the future. We need to do a lot more education and information here, and this is a transnational task, as the study shows.”

– Marc Becker, President of Pôle Véhicule du Futur

This is also confirmed by the responses to this question in Austria, although the figure is higher than in Germany: 30 percent of all Austrians surveyed could imagine a career in the renewable energy sector, and the figure was highest among 18-34 year-olds at 40 percent. Thirty percent of the Swiss respondents also showed interest in a career in renewable energy, and among 18-34 year olds the figure was 37 percent. Overall, 20 percent of French respondents were interested in a career in renewable energy, with interest highest among the 35-44 age group at 30 percent.

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