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The Global Energy Prize annually honors outstanding achievements in energy research and technology from around the world that are helping address the world’s various and pressing energy challenges.

Rodney Allam: renewables will not provide a transition to zero CO2 emissions

According to Rodney Allam, the 2012 Global Energy Prize laureate, a new life can be given to traditional hydrocarbon-powered power plants by making them environmentally friendly.

Global decarbonization of the global energy system is a long-term process that affects the main areas of the economy, including energy, transport, industry, agriculture, etc., considers Rodney Allam.  The first wave of decarbonization is associated with the development of clean energy technologies and the use of renewable energy sources. However, the low rate of introduction of renewable energy globally cannot ensure the achievement of global goals for CO2 emissions in the nearest future. According to Rodney Allam, the second wave will involve wide-spread deployment of new fossil fuel power generation with near zero CO2 emission and with wide-spread availability of geological CO2 disposal sites and CO2 collection pipelines. The scientist is convinced that a new life can be given to traditional hydrocarbon-powered power plants by making them environmentally friendly. This is possible thanks to the technology he developed the “Allam cycle”. The principle of operation of this cycle is as following: natural gas is burned in a combustion chamber with pure oxygen at high pressure, then the resulting CO2 reaction passes through a closed loop through a special turbine and returns back to the process. The system has a high carbon capture rate of almost 100%. Its additional advantage is the low cost of electricity production, comparable to the cost of electricity generation by other modern gas turbines, which is about 6 cents per kilowatt hour. At the moment, the technology is at a demonstration stage. According to Rodney Allam, its large-scale implementation, will happen no earlier than 2030.

Rodney Allam’s speech in the session ‘Deep Decarbonization: New Strategies for Zero Carbon Emissions’ took place as part of the Global Energy Association’s official program at the 24th World Energy Congress. In addition to the presentations of the Global Energy Association’s experts in forum’s business program, the Association will hold its own side event ‘Mission possible: the Global Energy Prize as a driver for sustainable energy for all.’


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