Powering Progress Together (PPT) is a global series of engagements convened by Shell to encourage dialogue about future energy challenges.

In the UK we invited 150 business leaders, academics, entrepreneurs, NGOs, policy-influencers and community leaders to come together on 25 May 2017 to stimulate innovative thinking and share practical, on-the-ground solutions. This took place alongside Shell’s Make the Future Live Festival of ideas and innovation.

Our 2017 discussion topic was: How will new technologies accelerate the pace of the energy transition?

Energy plays a central role in enhancing the quality of life for people across the planet. However, addressing environmental stresses, from air quality to climate change, has never been more important. Simply put, the world needs much more energy in order to address development needs, as well as far fewer emissions to address environmental concerns.

If the world is to achieve the lower carbon future it needs, many think technology will be instrumental. The probability is of a near future where billions of people are connected by mobile devices, where lives are transformed by emerging technologies in for example, robotics, energy storage, autonomous vehicles and AI.

Shell is choosing to adapt and innovate in order to play its part in the global drive to provide more and cleaner energy for all in a sustainable future. The energy system is transitioning away from a dependence on hydrocarbons, albeit slowly, but, at Shell, we see new means of producing, distributing and consuming energy as opportunities not threats.

The event opened with a keynote address by Shell’s Downstream Director, John Abbott, who suggested that adopting the Silicon Valley attitude of being prepared to “fail fast”, gaining understanding of new areas and fighting for the right investment landscape are all important approaches. But, he stressed, all of them will fail without a commitment to collaboration.

A panel debate and Q & A session then enabled strategic discussion of the theme. The speakers were: Georg Ell - Director, Western Europe, Tesla; David Hone - Chief Climate Change Advisor, Shell; Occo Roelofsen - Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company; Jacqueline de Rojas - President, techUK; David Rowan - Editor-at Large, WIRED; Geert van de Wouw – Managing Director, Shell Technology Ventures

In the afternoon attendees focused on three more practical areas of opportunity via breakout sessions:

Session One: How will new technologies help change energy behaviour?
Facilitated by: Bruno Gardner – Managing Director Policy & Innovation, Carbon Trust Speakers: Tessa Cook – Co-Founder and COO, OLIO; David Moss – General Manager, Shell Retail UK; Richard Wright – Behavioural Science Director, Unilever

New technologies have transformed consumer behaviour – from wearable technology tracking our daily step counts to apps linked to our smart homes. We explored how other sectors adopt technology as a key to driving consumer behaviour. 

Session Two: How will new technologies drive low emission mobility?
Facilitated by: Andy Eastlake – Managing Director, Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership Speakers: Julia Thomas - Managing Director, greentomatocars; Matthew Tipper – VP New Fuels, Shell; Tony Walker - Deputy Managing Director at Toyota Motor Manufacturing

Reducing emissions on the UK roads could have the greatest impact in creating a low carbon country, and digitalisation is transforming the automotive sector. From electric vehicles and driver apps to cleaner fuels, we considered what game changers and/or disruptors could drive positive changes in the way we move people and goods in the near future.

Session Three: How will new technologies transform future energy systems?
Facilitated by: Jo Coleman – Strategy Development Director, Energy Technologies Institute Speakers: Prof. Nigel Brandon - Vice-Dean Research Faculty of Engineering, Imperial College; David Hill - Director of Business Development & Corporate Affairs, Open Energi; Joanna Hubbard – Chief Operating Officer, Electron; Anosh Thakkar – Head of Digital, Shell

New disruptive energy technologies are rapidly shaping energy systems around the world. We discussed the opportunities for new technologies such as AI, Blockchain and storage in creating more efficient and cohesive energy systems, including the challenges that these new technologies pose in terms of security, feasibility and cost. The discussion also provided thoughtful insights about how both more traditional and disruptive technologies can enable the energy systems of the future to meet growing demand.

The day concluded with Shell leaders Sinead Lynch – Chair, Shell UK and Chad Holliday, Chairman in conversation with the Moderator, Kamal Ahmed. They explored the key messages that Shell had taken from the day which included the vital role of partnerships, the challenge of providing consumers with something better than they have now, and the need for Shell, and other big corporate organisations to build public trust through greater transparency.

About the Moderator

Kamal Ahmed, Economics Editor, BBC News

Kamal Ahmed, Economics Editor, BBC News

Kamal is the current Economics Editor of the BBC, having previously been the BBC’s Business Editor. He leads the BBC's ‘on-air’ economics coverage and makes regular appearances on the Today 

programme, the Six and Ten O'Clock news bulletins, as well as Newsnight and documentary programmes across television and radio. His blog is widely read online.

Kamal’s career began on local newspapers in Scotland. He later moved to ‘The Guardian’ where he rose to become Media Editor before moving to join ‘The Observer’ as Political Editor and then 

Executive Editor, News, between 2003 and 2007, responsible for the news output of the paper. 

In 2007, Kamal was recruited as Group Director, Communications, at the Equality and Human Rights Commission; the regulator charged with upholding and enforcing equality and human rights legislation in Britain.

Kamal then joined the Telegraph Media Group in 2009 where he was Business Editor of ‘The Sunday Telegraph’, and then Executive Business Editor across the Sunday and Daily Telegraph print editions before joining the BBC in 2013.

About the Panellists

David Rowan

David Rowan - Editor-at-Large, WIRED

Editor-at-Large, WIRED

David Rowan is Editor-at-large of WIRED’s UK edition. He’s taken 120 flights in the past year to investigate the companies and entrepreneurs changing our world, recently spending time with the founders of WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Google, Spotify, Xiaomi, Nest, Twitter and countless other disruptive startups from Tel Aviv to Shenzhen.

His recent keynote talks have included events for banks, governments and Fortune 100 companies, and recent stage interviews have ranged from will.i.am to James Murdoch and David Cameron.

David Hone

David Hone, Chief Climate Change Advisor, Shell

Chief Climate Change Adviser, Shell

David Hone works for Shell International Ltd. and is the Chief Climate Change Adviser. He joined Shell in 1980 after graduating as a Chemical Engineer from the University of Adelaide in Australia. He has worked in refinery technology, oil trading and shipping areas for Shell.

David is a board member of the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), was Chairman of IETA from 2011-2013 and is a board member of C2ES in Washington.

David is a regular climate blogger and is the author of an upcoming book on climate change, 'Putting the Genie Back: Solving the Climate and Energy Dilemma'.

Occo Roelofsen

Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company

Occo Roelofsen is a Senior Partner in McKinsey & Company’s Amsterdam Office and leads the Oil & Gas practice in EMEA.  

Occo serves a broad range of energy clients, with much of his work focusing on Strategy, Capital & Technology and large scale transformation. He also leads the Global Energy Perspective, McKinsey’s work around energy scenarios of the future.

Occo recently co-wrote the report: “How technology is reshaping supply and demand for natural resources”, which explores the way we consume energy and produce commodities.

Jacqueline de Rojas

President, techUK

Jacqueline is the President of techUK which represents more than 950 companies covering about half of all tech sector jobs in the UK.

Jacqueline also sits as a Non-Executive Director on the board of UK technology business Rightmove plc. Also holds advisory roles on the boards of Digital Leaders and Accelerate-HER.

She believes the UK can seize its place as a digital nation of significance by attracting, growing and retaining talent and demonstrating that it is a country open for business to global markets.

Georg Ell

Director, Western Europe, Tesla

Georg serves as Director for Western Europe at Tesla Motors, where he leads an outstanding team of passionate people focussed on customers, growth, and the company's mission to accelerate the world's movement to sustainable transport.

Prior to Tesla, Georg was Fuze VP and General Manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), where he was responsible for establishing the business in the region, reporting to the CEO.

In 2016, he was listed in the Debrett's 500, "People of Influence" for his work at Tesla.

Geert van de Wouw

Managing Director, Shell Technology Ventures

Since May 2012, Geert has been Managing Director of Shell Technology Ventures (STV), Shell’s venture capital fund, which invests in early-stage technology companies that have a strategic fit with Shell’s oil & gas businesses or fit with Shell’s renewable energy and aspirations.

Since 2012, STV has made 25 investments, of which 50-60% are in renewable energy and digital technologies, including Kite Power Systems (UK; Kite powered wind energy), Sense (USA; load disaggregation in homes), 2B-Energy (NL; 2-bladed wind turbine), Glasspoint (Oman/USA; concentrated solar), Maana (USA; big data analytics), Roscsole (Finland; Pipeline inspection) and others. Between 2007 and 2011, Geert led the supplier management organization for large, enterprise suppliers in the Shell Group.

Geert joined Shell in 2003 to lead the business development team of Shell Global Solutions in the Europe, FSU & Africa region. Shell Global Solutions provides technical consultancy and licensed technologies for both the Shell Group and external customers within the energy industry. Prior to Shell, Geert was Regional Director for business development at Fluor Corporation in EMEAR.

About the Breakout Session Speakers

Breakout Session 1

New technologies have transformed consumer behaviour – from wearable technology tracking our daily step counts to apps linked to our smart homes. How do other sectors adopt technology as a key to driving consumer behaviour? Could Shell leverage its fuel retail network to reach its customers to similar effect?

Bruno Gardner – Managing Director, Policy & Innovation, Carbon Trust

Breakout Session 1 – Facilitator

Bruno Gardner – Managing Director, Policy & Innovation, Carbon Trust

Bruno heads up the Carbon Trust’s team of policy and innovation experts that provides cutting edge advice to governments, policy makers and institutions around the world, helping to make the transition to a low carbon economy.

Previous roles at the Carbon Trust include heading up the Carbon Trust’s involvement in the Low Carbon Workplace property development partnership and overseeing the Carbon Trust’s commercial energy efficiency and implementation activities. He has also held Board and Observer positions on a number of Carbon Trust commercial spin-outs and joint ventures.

Before joining the Carbon Trust, Bruno worked as a strategy consultant for McKinsey and held various commercial, strategic and operational roles with Barclays and ExxonMobil. He holds a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA.

Breakout Session 1 – Speakers

Tessa Cook

Tessa Cook – Co-Founder, OLIO

Co-Founder, OLIO

In February 2015 Tessa Co-Founded OLIO with Saasha Celestial-One who she had met whilst studying for her MBA at Stanford University.

OLIO is a free app connecting people with their neighbours and local shops so that surplus food can be shared, not thrown away. It has 155,000 users, has saved over 200,000 items of food, and is supported by more than 10,000 volunteers all over the world.

David Moss

David moss retail general manager

Retail General Manager for North Europe

David is the General Manager for Shell’s UK Retail business. With over 35 years’ experience at Shell, David began his career in Shell’s Downstream Business, initially in Aviation then Marine. He joined the Retail business as a territory manager in the mid-1980s and since then has held roles with increasing responsibility within marketing, sales, operations and strategy in Europe, USA and globally.

During this time he has worked in Shell companies, subsidiaries and joint ventures. More recently he was the General Manager for Shell Retail’s global operator platform change and GM for Global Site Systems.

Richard Wright

Behavioural Science Director, Unilever

In1996, Richard joined Unilever’s R&D function to use psychological theories and methods to give Unilever a better understanding of their consumers than is possible using traditional market research approaches alone.

Since the early 2000s he has been applying behaviour change theories and leading-edge behavioural measures to further Unilever’s sustainability agenda.

Breakout Session 2

How will new technologies drive low emission mobility?

Reducing emissions on the UK roads could have the greatest impact in creating a low carbon country, and digitalisation is transforming the automotive sector. From electric vehicles and driver apps to cleaner fuels, we will consider what game changers and/or disruptors could drive positive changes in the way we move people and goods in the near future.

Andy Eastlake managing director low carbon vehicle partnership

Breakout Session 2 – Facilitator

Andy Eastlake – Managing Director, Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership

Andy Eastlake was appointed LowCVP’s Managing Director in April 2012, after serving both on the board and for many years as Chair of the Members Council.  

Andy has a strong background in vehicle engineering, specialising in powertrain developments, fuel efficiency and emissions. As MD he has been closely involved in the design and implementation of the latest testing and accreditation schemes for a variety of vehicles, including buses and HGVs, supporting the Department for Transport and the Office for Low emissions Vehicles in stimulating the uptake of low carbon technologies. 

The LowCVP have long championed the need for low carbon fuels and energy used in the most efficient vehicles and their work with the government aims to accelerate the market to achieve this.

Break out Session 2 – Speakers

Tony Walker

Deputy Managing Director, Toyota Motor Manufacturing

Deputy Managing Director, Toyota Motor Manufacturing

Tony Walker is Deputy Managing Director at Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK). He joined Toyota at Toyota Manufacturing UK, as General Manager, Human Resources in 1990.  As one of the first employees of Toyota Manufacturing UK he played a fundamental role in the establishment and development of the company, before taking up a new challenge in Toyota Motor Europe’s HQ in Brussels in 2001.

In January 2010 Tony took up the role of Deputy Managing Director, with direct responsibility for the functions of HR, Accounting & Finance, Corporate Planning, External Affairs and Production Control.  In April 2014 he also became Managing Director of Toyota Motor Europe London Office.

 

Julia Thomas

Managing Director, greentomatocars

greentomatocars is a sustainable London private hire and taxi company, using only hybrid vehicles.

They were the first private hire company to double offset emissions, and last year alone they offset 1,000 tons of CO2 emissions – equivalent to 142 double decker buses. Julia is focused on leading the transformation of greentomatocars in the heavily disrupted London private hire and taxi market.

Matthew Tipper

Matthew Tipper, VP New Fuels, Shell

VP New Fuels, Shell

Matthew Tipper was appointed VP of Shell Alternative Energies in 2012 where he has responsibility for developing Advanced biofuels, Hydrogen and electric mobility, marketing of Shell GTL Fuels, and supporting Shell’s sugar and cane ethanol joint venture in Brazil. 

He joined Shell Alternative Energies in 2009 and has over 25 years’ commercial experience in Shell, gained across various Downstream business roles, primarily in trading and supply. He was previously responsible for leading Shell’s global Gasoline trading business.

He spent much of his early career in a range of trading and supply operations in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. Matthew is an advisor to the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis, and a non-executive director of bio-bean, a UK bio-energy company.

Breakout Session 3

How will new technologies transform future energy systems?

New disruptive energy technologies are rapidly shaping energy systems around the world. We will discuss the opportunities for new technologies such as AI, Blockchain and storage in creating more efficient and cohesive energy systems, including the challenges that these new technologies pose in terms of security, feasibility and cost. The discussion will also provide thoughtful insights about how both more traditional and disruptive technologies can enable the energy systems of the future to meet growing demand.

Jo Coleman – Strategy Director, & Energy Technologies Institute

Breakout Session 3 – Facilitator

Jo Coleman – Director – Strategy Development & Energy Technologies Institute

Jo Coleman is Strategy Director at the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI). The ETI is a public-private partnership between global energy and engineering companies and the UK Government. Its role is to act as a conduit between academia, industry and the government to accelerate the development of low carbon technologies. Jo is responsible for the ETI’s Technology Strategy and Strategic Analysis. This encompasses explore and analysing energy transition pathways and the opportunities and challenges in delivering them. 

Prior to joining the ETI, Jo worked in Shell for over 20 years and has worked in 6 countries spanning Europe, Asia and the Middle East.  Jo is a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Breakout Session 3 – Speakers

David Hill

David Hill- Director of Business Development & Corporate Affairs

Director of Business Development & Corporate Affairs, Open Energi

David Hill is an expert on electricity markets and demand-side flexibility, including demand side response and battery storage systems.

He is responsible for defining and delivering Open Energi’s vision and strategy to grow our distributed storage network in the UK and overseas, which includes supporting new and existing clients and working with strategic technology partners to realise new market opportunities.

Open Energi is a UK clean tech company working with businesses to intelligently optimise their electricity demand and deliver revenues and cost savings. 

Joanna Hubbard

Chief Operating Officer, Electron

Joanna is the COO and co-founder of Electron: a London-based start-up in the energy blockchain space.

At Electron Joanna is taking a “collaboratively disruptive” approach to designing more efficient, resilient systems for the energy market with a number of key industry stakeholders.

Professor Nigel Brandon

Professor Nigel Brandon - Vice-Dean Research Faculty of Engineering

Vice-Dean Research Faculty of Engineering, Imperial College

Nigel Brandon's research is focused on electrochemical devices for energy applications, with a particular focus on fuel cells, electrolysers, and batteries.

He is Director of the RC Energy programme funded Hydrogen and Fuel Cells SUPERGEN Hub, and Co-Director of the SUPERGEN Energy Storage Hub. He was the founding Director of the Energy Futures Lab at Imperial College, and a founder of Ceres Power, an AIM listed fuel cell company spun out from Imperial College in 2000.

Anosh Thakkar

Anosh Thakkar - Head of Digital – Royal Dutch Shell

Head of Digital – Royal Dutch Shell

Anosh Thakkar is the Head of Digital at Shell. Anosh is in charge of digitalization of Shell through forming the right digital strategy, helping execute on the strategy though Innovation and implementing competitive technologies.

About Shell Plenary Speakers

John Abbott

John Abbott – Downstream Director

Downstream Director

John Abbott was appointed Downstream Director and a member of the Executive Committee of Royal Dutch Shell plc on October 1, 2013.

He joined Shell in 1981 after graduating from Birmingham University, UK, with a first-class honours degree in Chemical Engineering. John has since worked in the UK, Singapore, Thailand, the Netherlands, Canada, and the USA, predominantly in the areas of Global Manufacturing and Supply, Trading and Distribution.

Sinead Lynch

Sinead Lynch Chair Shell UK Limited

UK Country Chair

Sinead joined Shell in the role of UK Country Chair on September 1 2016.

Prior to this she was EVP Safety and Sustainability, responsible for the leadership and integration of BG Group’s Health, Safety & Asset Integrity, Security, Environment & Climate Change, Social Performance & Human Rights, Government & Policy Affairs and Communications disciplines. Sinead worked for BG since 1993, holding a wide variety of roles across business segments and disciplines.

When the proposed combination between Shell and BG Group was announced in April 2015, Sinead took on the additional responsibility of heading the Integration Planning Team on the BG side and supported the ongoing transition of BG into Shell.

Chad Holliday

Chad Holliday – Chairman at shell

Chairman

Born March 9, 1948. A US national, appointed Chair of the Company with effect from May 2015, having previously served as a Non-executive Director since September 2010.

He was Chief Executive Officer of DuPont from 1998 to 2009, and Chairman from 1999 to 2009. He joined DuPont in 1970 after receiving a B.S. in industrial engineering from the University of Tennessee and held various manufacturing and business assignments, including a six-year, Tokyo-based posting as President of DuPont Asia/Pacific.

He has previously served as Chairman of the Bank of America Corporation, The Business Council, Catalyst, the National Academy of Engineering, the Society of Chemical Industry – American Section, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and as a Director of Deere & Company.

He is a founding member of the International Business Council. He is a Director of HCA Holdings, Inc.

More in about us

Powering Progress Together

A forum aiming to spark new thinking and help build resilience in a world where vital resources face growing pressure.

You may also be interested in

The power of questions

Speech given by Ben van Beurden, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Shell, at the Powering Progress Together conference in London, UK on June 30, 2016.

Future transport

We are innovating to help people and goods move around an ever more crowded world more cleanly and efficiently.

The energy future

How will the world produce more, cleaner energy to power our homes and cities, and fuel our vehicles in decades to come?