Shell’s Downstream Director John Abbott standing on a podium and speaking over the mic
Shell’s Downstream Director John Abbott stressed the importance of collaboration when attempting to meet the world’s energy challenges

One hundred energy experts gathered to discuss Asia’s energy challenges at Shell’s first Powering Progress Together (PPT) Forum in Singapore.

John Abbott, Shell’s Downstream Director, opened the event with a speech outlining how changes in energy use would need to happen in virtually every part of society. Asia's demand for energy could increase by 50% in the run-up to 2040, according to Shell Scenarios.

“Governments, academics, consumers and companies like Shell will need to work together to meet this enormous challenge,” he said. “With its willingness to collaborate and its track record for forward-thinking, Singapore sets a great example in this field.”

His address was followed by a panel discussion called “Asia’s Cleaner Energy Dilemma”. It discussed how economies could balance the social and economic demands for a better life with those of a healthy planet.

It was moderated by Marc Carrel-Billiard, global senior MD of Accenture Labs, the innovation arm of the global consultancy. He was joined by four panelists: Alvin Yeo, Industry Development Director at Singapore’s Energy Market Authority; Visal Leng, President of GE Oil & Gas, Asia Pacific; Koh Kong Meng, HP’s General Manager and Managing Director, Southeast Asia and Korea, and Mark Gainsborough, Shell’s Executive Vice President of New Energies.

Experts from around the region discuss how Asia can balance its increasingly heavy energy needs with lower emissions, while maintaining a reliable energy system.
Panelists discussed how economies could balance the social and economic demands for a better life with those of a healthy planet

The panel addressed the dilemma of how to provide clean energy as Asian economies grow and their demand for energy increases. Among the points raised was the need to ensure that energy remains affordable, secure as well as accessible.

Mr Koh highlighted how technological innovations like 3D printing could play a part in a low-carbon future. “Instead of ordering products and parts, you could just print them out at home. This would use less energy as you would not need to transport or manufacture goods.”

However, he added that it might take another two decades for 3D printing to be established. By that time, the technology would be affordable and accessible to everyone.

Gainsborough said there was no silver bullet that could resolve Asia’s energy challenge. “We need to deploy everything in the kit bag,” he said. “If you rely only on battery-operated electric vehicles, for example, you will have to wait a long time. What is needed is as many solutions as possible, working together, whether they be biofuels or hydrogen or carbon capture and storage.”

Carell-Billiard closed the debate by highlighting the importance of education and the need to get young people excited about exploring alternative energy solutions. “They have a strong curiosity and a desire to change and through that, they can rally people and ideas together,” he said.

Delegates experienced The Container of Possibilities, Shell’s effort to imagine what an urban home in Asia could look like in 2050.

The urban Asian home of 2050

Container of Possibilities

The Container of Possibilities is Shell’s effort to imagine what an urban home in Asia could look like in 2050.

Taking inspiration from the scenarios created by the student teams in the Imagine the Future contest, Shell has transformed the inside of a shipping container to replicate the urban Asian home of 2050. 

The home has windows that automatically adjust throughout the day, eliminating the need for blinds or curtains. This feature significantly reduces energy consumption and air-conditioning costs.

All devices and appliances communicate with one another and can be controlled by smartphone, allowing residents to monitor and operate their appliances remotely. 

The Container of Possibilities will be on show for the duration of the Make the Future Singapore festival from March 16 to 19. It will then tour Bangkok and Jakarta.

Closing the event, Shell’s Singapore Country Chair, Goh Swee Chen, said: “Shell has long recognised the need to reduce carbon emissions and to stem the problem of air pollution in many parts of Asia. But we also know that more energy is needed to provide a decent quality of life for people, not only in Asia, but across the world.

“That is why we have created platforms like the Powering Progress Together forum and the Make the Future Festivals. We are here to challenge existing assumptions and to find innovative ways to solve problems.”

PPT is part of the first-ever Make the Future Singapore. The four-day event features a range of energy ideas that address the global energy challenge: how to meet the energy demands of the future, while producing less carbon dioxide emissions.

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