Andy Gosse

3 Trends That May Shape the Energy Industry in 2020

By Andy Gosse on Dec 23, 2019

The year 2020 will be transformational for Shell Catalysts & Technologies, the energy industry, and the global economy as a whole. New regulations and initiatives are helping to drive unprecedented improvements in catalytic technologies that are shaping the future of our industry and how we -- as part of a worldwide effort to rewire the global economy for a new era of innovation -- provide energy to a growing international population.

In April 2020, Shell Catalysts & Technologies will celebrate its one-year anniversary, having integrated the values, objectives, and people and resources of Criterion, CRI, and Shell Global Solutions. All of us who are a part of Shell Catalysts & Technologies are excited to be at the forefront of the energy transition and enabling energy producers around the world with solutions to create more, cleaner energy. Moving our industry forward, however, means embracing profound trends, challenges, and opportunities, which we -- as energy experts and professionals -- find very exciting.

1. Decarbonisation of the Global Economy

Our international community knows it must decarbonise. Wherever I go, including energy conferences from Europe and the Middle East to Asia and India, conversations always include compelling discussions about our efforts, capabilities, and strategies to help decarbonise the global economy. This collective effort will require a realistic approach to the challenges ahead and the alignment of businesses, governments, and greater society to produce transformative partnerships. Change must incorporate how energy is produced, distributed, and used. Progress is happening. For example, the RED II (Renewable Energy Sources) directive mandated by the EU plans to increase the consumption of renewable resources by 32% before 2030, while also requiring that a minimum of 14% of the energy consumed in road-and-rail transport be renewable energy by the same year.

Shell Catalysts & Technologies aims to be at the forefront of decarbonisation by, for example, focusing on how to expand the impact of petrochemicals. We see petrochemicals as a solution to making the refining industry a more productive component of the value chain that will enjoy continued growth in the future. Also, we are very excited about the potential of biofuels. Europe is leading the way for a new era of refiners replacing a significant component of the fuel mix with biofuels -- even biofuels produced from components such as vegetable oils, which is already happening. We are already expecting and anticipating our move toward second-generation biofuels, and that’s an engaging space as Shell Catalysts & Technologies plays a more aggressive role in the international effort to decarbonise energy at every level.

Learn More About Biofuels & Renewable Energy Technology

2. CO2 Capture & Alternative Uses

Shell Catalysts & Technologies believes that carbon capture and finding alternative uses for CO2 are essential developments in the mandate to make more, cleaner energy. We are exploring carbon capture and storage in a number of key geographies, including Europe, North America, and Australia. However, though the technologies that support carbon capture and alternative uses of CO2 do exist, these initiatives currently face significant economic challenges. Shell Catalysts & Technologies realizes we must develop the capacity to implement safe processes using advanced technologies that are practical, efficient, and economically productive.

As with many emerging trends and technologies, CO2 capture and alternative uses for CO2 are in the early stages of being defined -- and consequently energized -- by clear directives. Unlike the thoughtfully organized and meticulously detailed RED II directives set by the EU, CO2 capture and alternative uses for CO2 have yet to become explicitly delineated practices in the energy industry. Companies and governments must come together to turn opportunities into realities. By improving CO2 capabilities and alternative uses -- such as incorporating CO2 into concrete to be used in building materials or turned into bioplastics and polyols -- our industry can transform energy and reduce CO2 emissions in unprecedented ways.

Related Article: Leveraging Innovation in Catalyst Technology for Cleaner Energy Solutions

3. Collaborations & Partnerships

The global mandate for more, cleaner energy will focus the businesses, people, and resources that comprise the energy industry on a common purpose. Never before has our industry been so universally called upon to provide cleaner energy to a rapidly expanding global population that is placing increasing pressure on the planet’s limited resources. Everyone in our industry is keenly aware of the challenge, and we must innovate to discover and refine solutions and technologies that revolutionize our impact and role in the global community. This begins with finding opportunities for collaborations that allow for complementary technologies across different fields, businesses, and locales that can be deployed in different ways, in order to achieve breakthroughs.

Shell Catalysts & Technologies prioritizes developing close working relationships with our customers and stakeholders. We also emphasize focusing on integrating the skills, knowledge, and feedback of refinery owners and operators to optimize their business opportunities and objectives. The merging of expertise, experience, and intellect will drive energy innovation. This is a competitive industry. Change is created by smart people competing with each other to create valuable business solutions and outcomes. Companies and governments that influence the energy industry will increasingly drive the cross-pollination of ideas and technologies that result in cleaner energy that benefits everyone. Through innovation and new ways to deploy the technology that is being developed across the spectrum, we can make 2020 a transformative year for our business and industry as a whole.