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Innovation holds the key to unlocking the energy needed today and in the future.

The global energy system needs to undergo a radical change.  It has to become broader, cleaner, more efficient.  My belief is that a balance between accepting the intermittent supply of renewables and the more constant supply of fossil fuels is probably going to be the way that happens. 

In my industry, we have over 100 years’ history as a pioneer.  Technology developments in liquefied natural gas (LNG), making gas easier and safer to ship across oceans is one example of this.   LNG has typically been regasified for the purpose of fuelling power plants, but we’re also looking at making it available for truck-fleet customers, and intend to make a business out of supplying LNG as fuel for ships.  We have also developed oil recovery techniques (Smart Field technology) to allow us to increase the amount of oil recovered from a field by 10%.

The need to demonstrate CCS has been highlighted throughout the Perspectives on Energy series.  In the UK Shell and SSE hope to develop the world’s first full-scale CCS project, which could be a significant step in developing CCS technology and helping to decarbonise the UK’s power sector.  Adding CCS to a gas-fired power station could reduce emissions by up to 90%.   We welcome Government’s commitment to a demonstration project in the UK, and propelling this technology to commercial deployment will require multiple demonstrations to drive down the cost curves. Carbon can also be removed from the energy system through CCS closer to source. There are also possibilities for CCS  in  the resource countries themselves, exporting clean burning fuels, such as liquid fuels derived from gas or even Hydrogen to environmentally concerned customers.

The energy is there, from the earth’s resources. The potential is there in terms of people’s ability to harness the technology to the purpose. It’s a question of getting on with it.

By Bruce Levell

VP Emerging Technologies, Royal Dutch Shell