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Environment and climate protection


Sustainable transport concepts are very important to us. Only if we rethink climate technology and promote environmentally friendly technology will we and future generations be able to use our planet Earth in the usual way. In the following sections we explain environmentally relevant topics.


From an environmental perspective, emission (as the opposite of immission) means the release of substances from a source. These are solid, liquid or gaseous elements. The origin is derived from “ermittere” (Latin for to send out, to send out). Examples of harmful emissions include: B. Pollutants such as greenhouse gases but also light and noise. The Federal Immission Control Act (BImSchG) has been in force in Germany since 1974. It is intended to protect people, animals and plants, the soil and water, the atmosphere as well as cultural and other material assets from harmful environmental impacts and to prevent and avoid the emergence of harmful environmental impacts. CO2 emissions are significantly involved in the so-called greenhouse effect. This leads to global warming with devastating consequences for the environment. Carbon dioxide is produced by the combustion of carbon-containing materials, including wood, coal, diesel or gas. If you would like to calculate your personal CO2 consumption, you can do so.CO2 calculatorUse the Federal Environment Agency online. Here your own CO2 emissions are evaluated in comparison to the German average. This way you can see at which points you can optimize your personal behavior: housing, nutrition, consumption but also mobility!


e-Fuel is synthetic fuel with the same properties as gasoline, diesel or kerosene. The advantage is that e-fuels can be used in all vehicles, regardless of the type of drive. Like conventional fuels, e-fuels could be purchased at gas stations. Many car manufacturers rely on this alternative in order to be able to further market their products. e-Fuel is produced using electricity from renewable energies, water and CO2 from the air. An investigation of the Environmental Association Transport & Environment However, gives e-fuels a bad rating - according to new tests, cars powered by synthetic fuels emit just as many toxic nitrogen oxides as fossil combustion engines. The emissions of carbon monoxide and ammonia were even higher than those from burning conventional gasoline. In addition, the production is expensive and not very productive. However, e-fuels are an interesting alternative for long-haul vehicles such as those in shipping or aviation.


Lithium is a silvery-white, soft light metal. The chemical symbol is Li, the atomic number 3. The name is derived from the ancient Greek líthos, which means 'stone' in German. The Swede Johan August Arfwedson, who analyzed the first finds on the Swedish island of Utö in 1817, is considered to be the discoverer.


Lithium is shaping the age of electromobility. Today, no high-voltage storage system can function without lithium. Without lithium-ion batteries, e-mobiles would only travel a few kilometers. It has the lowest density of solid elements. The metal is light. Lithium is also a good conductor of electricity and heat. The Li-ion battery is characterized by a high energy density. Its useful lifespan is several years, although this depends heavily on usage and storage conditions.

Lithium deposits exist underground. Australia offers the greatest resources here. Mining takes place in ore mines. Another type of extraction is evaporation in salt lakes. Brine-based lithium sources are predominantly located in South America, such as Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile. (Source: U.S. Geological Survey, Mineral Commodity Summaries, January 2021)

The negative criticism of lithium mining relates almost exclusively to the extraction from the salars. Due to the high water consumption, this type of extraction is highly controversial. The lithium-containing salt water comes to the surface from underground lakes, where it evaporates in large basins. What remains is a salt solution. The lithium is washed out and processed into lithium carbonate in a chemical plant.

However, both extraction methods sometimes have serious side effects for the environment: conventional lithium extraction in mines from hard rock and from the slag of salt lakes consumes large amounts of energy or water and thus leaves a correspondingly large CO₂ footprint.

Several companies are now working on the topic of alternative lithium extraction. Short transport routes, socially acceptable working conditions and environmentally friendly mining should ensure sustainable production. And the chances of that happening are good. There are also significant lithium deposits in Germany.

Rare earth

The rare earths include 17 metals: scandium, yttrium and lanthanum - and the 14 metals following lanthanum in the periodic table, the so-called lanthanoids. These include cerium, praseodymium, neodymium, europium and yttrium. The need for rare earths is growing due to the climate change. They ensure the necessary efficiency in wind turbines, electric motors and LED lamps. However, their reduction has so far been anything but sustainable. There are up to three kilograms of metal in an electric car, and up to 300 kilograms in an offshore wind turbine. In order to achieve the climate goals set for 2045, there is no alternative to the stones. Therecycling of rare earths could reduce the shortage of raw materials in the future. There is already some research on this topic. However, this requires larger amounts of return. However, this is only to be expected in a few years, when the first larger wind turbines are recycled. 


Currently, most lithium-ion batteries use the chemical element cobalt as the basis for the cathode material. Cells with cobalt cathode produce larger onesRanges and simplify charge measurement and management compared to other chemical solutions. With its physicochemical properties, cobalt is a sought-after raw material, but the mining of cobalt has long been a highly controversial topic. As the electric car industry strives for social and environmental sustainability, there is growing interest in both battery solutions with reduced cobalt content (NMC and NCA) and in cobalt-free battery concepts such asLithium iron phosphate battery (LFP), such as those used in the BYD models.

Green electricity

Green electricity refers to electrical energy that comes from environmentally friendly, natural and renewable sources. Green electricity is also known as “natural electricity” or “green electricity”. Regardless of whether you have signed a contract with a green electricity provider or have a conventional supply contract: there is always a mix of electricity coming from your socket. There are separate cables for different types of electricity. As long as there is energy production from coal mining and nuclear power plants, everyone will receive a mixture of all forms of energy. The more people use green electricity, the higher the proportion of renewable energies in this electricity mix. In the period from 1990 to 2017, the share of electricity generation from renewable energy sources in total German gross electricity consumption rose from 3.4% to 36%. In 2020 the share was around 45.4%. The more people participate, the greener our electricity will be and the more sustainable its use will bee-vehicles!


Hydrogen is a chemical element with the symbol H (for Latin hydrogenium “water producer”) and the atomic number 1.

Hydrogen was discovered by English chemist and physicist Henry Cavendish in 1766 while experimenting with mercury and acids. When he mixed the two substances, small gas bubbles emerged: hydrogen.

For the long-term success of the energy transition and for climate protection, we need alternatives to fossil fuels. Hydrogen serves as one of the key elements here. In addition to the climate policy aspects, hydrogen technologies are also about sustainable jobs, new value creation potential and a global market worth billions. The advantage of hydrogen: it could easily be integrated into the existing filling station system. The refueling process itself is well known. And existing combustion cars can be converted to environmentally friendly technology. The disadvantage is the high manufacturing costs. The extraction methods are also complex and cost electricity.

Sustainability in vehicle construction

More and more manufacturers are now placing emphasis on using sustainable materials. For example, interior paneling, carpets and other materials used are made from recycled PET bottles or even fishing nets (Genesis). Many seat covers feel like leather, but are made from a vegan PVC material (Polestar) or from bacterial cellulose - grown using fungal cultures in the laboratory (Scoby Tec).

Tesla is considered a pioneer of the vegan movement. At the urging of customers, the US manufacturer announced leather-free components for its electric cars back in 2016. Model Y and Model 3 should now be available completely vegan. 

17 Sustainable Development Goals

The 2030 Agenda defines 17 global goals for sustainable development, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With this list, the international community decided on universal goals for global sustainable development for the first time in 2015. They are aimed at all governments worldwide, but also civil society, the private sector and science. Climate protection, affordable and clean energy and sustainable urban development play important roles.

Each year, the UN Secretary-General presents an annual SDG progress report, developed in collaboration with the UN system, based on the global indicator framework and data produced by national statistical systems, as well as information collected at the regional level.

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