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Why Shell Catalysts & Technologies is emphasizing more and cleaner energy

Energy transformations must address the need to limit CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions.

By Shell Catalysts & Technologies on Oct 12, 2020

Industrialised human activity has afforded generations of global citizens unprecedented mobility and interconnectedness. These benefits will only become more entrenched as next-generation innovations in energy take place.

These energy transformations must address the need to limit CO2 and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Effectively limiting GHG emissions aligns with the mission set out by the Paris Agreement to keep the rise in global average temperature this century to below 1.5° Celsius above pre-industrial levels, a mission that Shell Catalysts & Technologies fully supports.

What’s more, by 2050 the global population is expected to reach nearly 10 billion, and the resultant energy requirement is estimated to increase by 30–50%.1 2 To meet the 1.5° Celsius goal of the Paris Agreement, CO2 emissions need to be reduced by around half, from 32 gigatonnes (Gt) to 18.4 Gt. Shell Catalysts & Technologies is uniquely positioned to drive innovations in energy production while at the same time helping society work towards achieving the goals set out by the Paris Agreement.

What more and cleaner energy means to Shell Catalysts & Technologies

In order to sustain population growth and support rising living standards globally, energy producers will be required to significantly increase creation of clean energy. Consider the alternatives:

  • If clean energy production is emphasized over its application or infrastructure capabilities, people’s energy needs will go unmet.
  • If energy quantities are prioritised without efforts to regulate and reduce emissions, the Paris Agreement warming targets will likely not be achieved.

Thus, both more and cleaner energy solutions are required. A driving force behind Shell Catalysts & Technologies’ research and development initiatives is to minimise the negative impacts of energy production on the environment and to create a sustainable energy future for all people.

Clean energy emits little to no greenhouse gases, is less harmful to people and the environment and can take many forms. Renewable energy is derived from sources that are naturally replenished, as opposed to sources of limited supply, such as fossil fuels. Energy from wind, hydro, solar, geothermal and bioenergy sources are considered to be renewable.

As societies prioritise decarbonisation and move their energy systems towards clean energy, non-renewable energy production will also have to be optimised to reduce sulphur and nitrogen oxide emissions below specified limits to reduce environmental impact.

To satisfy future demand, efficient energy production from both renewable and non-renewable energy sources is critical. Energy efficiency improvements are intended to reduce “the amount of energy needed to provide the same or improved level of service to the consumer,” the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency states.3

For energy production from non-renewable sources in particular, the reduction of air pollution is a primary benefit of improving efficiency. For example, electricity generation is a key contributor to the release of air pollutants and GHG emissions into the atmosphere. By improving the efficiency of electricity generation, the resultant pollution from energy output is effectively decreased.4

How Shell Catalysts & Technologies is uniquely positioned to lead

Shell produces about 1.5% of the world’s energy, and sells about 3% of the total energy consumed. As such, more and cleaner energy innovations that are made by Shell Catalysts & Technologies and applied to Shell operations have the potential to directly impact the global energy system. These technologies and services are available to third-party customers as well. Having a direct impact on current and future energy production is a motivating factor behind the investments that Shell Catalysts & Technologies has made to develop more and cleaner energy solutions.

Biofuels and renewable energy technologies

These technologies have the potential to meet the mobility demands of the 21st century without creating rampant CO2 emissions. Around the world, fuel retailers are blending a certain percentage of their petrol and diesel with biofuels in order to reduce emissions from their end product. Shell is one of the largest blenders and distributors of biofuels in the world, and Shell Catalysts & Technologies is leading development in a number of biofuel and renewable energy technologies.

Discover the benefits of biofuels

Carbon capture and storage (CCS)

CCS will play an important role in achieving the Paris Agreement goals. CCS is a critical technology to develop GHG mitigation pathways, “based on its multiple roles to limit fossil-fuel emissions in electricity generation, liquids production and industry applications along with the projected ability to remove CO2 from the atmosphere when combined with bioenergy,” a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states.5

Shell Catalysts & Technologies has a long history in innovative CCS technology development. Shell’s CANSOLV CO2 Capture System, for example, provides robust, highly adaptable and reliable technology for capturing up to 99% of the CO2 in low-pressure exhaust gases, while producing CO2 as a by-product suitable for sequestration, enhanced oil recovery or other industrial uses. It has been in use commercially for several years with reference sites capturing up to 1 million tonnes of CO2 a year.

To learn more about Shell’s CCS capabilities, download the Shell CANSOLV CO2 Capture System fact sheet

Navigating the energy transition by providing more and cleaner energy solutions

Achieving the goals set out by the Paris Agreement will require extensive collaboration between governments, energy producers and consumers across the globe. Shell Catalysts & Technologies is committed to helping our customers navigate the energy transition by sharing insights created from our position as an owner-operator and leader in energy transition research and development.

1 Suzuki, Emi. “World's Population Will Continue to Grow and Will Reach Nearly 10 Billion by 2050.” World Bank Blogs, 8 July 2019, blogs.worldbank.org/opendata/worlds-population-will-continue-grow-and-will-reach-nearly-10-billion-2050#:~:text=It%20is%20projected%20that%20the,227%20million%20to%202.2%20billion.

2 “EIA projects nearly 50% increase in world energy usage by 2050, led by growth in Asia,” U.S. Energy Information Administration, 24 Sept. 2019, https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=41433.

Mulholland, Denise. “The Multiple Benefits of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Part 1.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 2018, www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2018-07/documents/mbg_1_multiplebenefits.pdf.

4 Bruckner T., I.A. Bashmakov, Y. Mulugetta, H. Chum, A. de la Vega Navarro, J. Edmonds, A. Faaij, B. Fungtammasan, A. Garg, E. Hertwich, D. Honnery, D. Infield, M. Kainuma, S. Khennas, S. Kim, H.B. Nimir, K. Riahi, N. Strachan, R. Wiser, and X. Zhang, 2014: Energy Systems. In: Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Edenhofer, O., R. Pichs-Madruga, Y. Sokona, E. Farahani, S. Kadner, K. Seyboth, A. Adler, I. Baum, S. Brunner, P. Eickemeier, B. Kriemann, J. Savolainen, S. Schlömer, C. von Stechow, T. Zwickel and J.C. Minx (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.

5 Rogelj, J., D. et al., 2018: Mitigation Pathways Compatible with 1.5°C in the Context of Sustainable Development. In: Global Warming of 1.5°C. An IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty [Masson-Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, H.-O. Pörtner, D. Roberts, J. Skea, P.R. Shukla, A.