New technology, global cooperation required for sustainable energy
The development of an appropriate technological base, the unified political will of different states and stable international cooperation are needed to overcome challenges and ensure the development of sustainable energy, said experts during the second day of World Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
The ways to achieve a sustainable future were highlighted by the participants of the session: ‘Mission possible: the Global Energy Prize as a driver for sustainable energy for all.
Steven Griffiths, the Global Energy Prize International Award Committee member; Senior Vice President for Research and Development, Khalifa University of Science and Technology (KUST), said that efforts to improve energy efficiency and decarbonization should be directed not only to energy generating facilities, but also the end user, especially in the transport sector. “Electric vehicle sales grew by 68% in 2018. This may be evidence that in the future they will become widely available,” he said.
Recognizing the importance of reducing harmful emissions into the atmosphere, the session participants noted that the current global volume of electricity production from renewable energy sources is insufficient to achieve almost zero CO2 emissions by 2050.According to Rodney John Allam, the 2012 Global Energy Prize laureate, member of the Global Energy Prize International Award Committee, IPCC member awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, coal should either be decommissioned in favor of natural gas, or gasified and purified so that it can be used as a fuel for highly efficient power generation with 100% CO2 capture. This is possible thanks to the technology he developed - the “Allam cycle”, which allows you to burn natural gas and captures all the carbon dioxide produced.
The advantages of using natural gas were also mentioned by Sergey Alekseenko, the 2018 Global Energy Prize laureate , head of the Laboratory of Heat and Mass Transfer Problems, Institute of Thermophysics SB RAS. According to him, in the nearest future environmentally friendly and efficient technologies for processing fossil fuels will be developed, in particular, on the basis of combined-cycle plants and methods for the deep processing of coal. A longer term perspective is the further development of renewable energy sources and the development of effective methods for converting and storing energy, including fuel cells.
According to experts of the session, solar panels are becoming the most competitive energy sources compared to fossil fuels. The volume of electricity generated by them in 2018 increased by 31%. The participants of the discussion pointed to energy integration and energy networks among other technologies that can ensure sustainable development of the energy sector. They are becoming more and more popular due to the growing demand for the alternate use of renewable energy sources. For the same reason, the rapid development of energy storage technologies, especially lithium-ion batteries, is predicted. Another trend is the large-scale transition to LED lighting. Sales of LED products reached a critical point in 2018, accounting for 40% of global sales of lighting devices for residential premises. According to the experts of the session, these examples suggest that science is the driver of technological innovations. It must propose key solutions for the production, storage, transmission and consumption of energy without harming the environment. However, scientific and technological innovations should be stimulated by powerful administrative decisions and the political will of different countries, said Rae Kwon Chung, the Global Energy Prize International Award Committee Chair; UN Secretary-General’s High-level Expert and Leaders Panel (HELP) on water and disasters, Adviser to the Chair; Member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.
According to experts, international cooperation plays equally important role not only in attracting investments, but, also in resisting the climate change and achieving sustainable development, because these issues are global in nature. Moreover, it is the integration and consolidation of the interests of world powers that will make it possible to solve the most important tasks: ensuring the reliability of energy supply and the availability of energy both physically and financially. “Today, energy should move from the role of a locomotive for industrial production growth to a locomotive for increasing the quality of life of every person in any corner of the earth,” said Oleg Budargin, the Global Energy Association’s Board of Trustees Chairman, World Energy Council Vice-Chairman. “In the last century, electricity gave a start to a new technological cycle, so in the present it is responsible for a new quality of life for all the inhabitants of the globe.”