Energy giants advance investment to accelerate clean energy solutionsPosted on
According to the IEA report ‘Emissions from Oil and Gas Operations in Net Zero Transitions’, oil and gas operations account for nearly 15% of energy-related carbon emissions which the industry has the ability and resources to cut quickly and cost effectively.
In the United Kingdom, the government has set ambitious targets to reduce gas usage by 2030, as part of its efforts to tackle climate change. The goal is to cut emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels, and to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. To achieve these targets, the government has announced a series of measures to incentivise innovation in the oil and gas sector, while promoting the development of renewable energy technologies.
The IEA report identifies five main areas to achieve reductions in gas and oil emissions: tackling methane emissions; eliminating all non-emergency flaring; electrifying upstream facilities; equipping oil and gas processes with carbon capture, utilisation and storage; and expanding the use of low-emissions hydrogen in refineries.
It’s clear that in order to achieve these targets, new innovation and technologies will need to be developed; innovation that will need to be protected by patents.
One area of innovation is the development of hydrogen as a clean energy source. Hydrogen can be produced from renewable sources such as wind and solar power, or from natural gas through a process called steam methane reforming. The UK government has announced plans to increase the use of hydrogen in industry, transport, and heating, with a goal of producing 5GW of low-carbon hydrogen by 2030. The government has also established a £240 million net-zero hydrogen fund to support the development of hydrogen technologies.
In addition to these measures, the UK government has also introduced policies to promote the utilisation of renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power. For example, the Offshore Wind Growth Partnership is offering grants to UK companies to support commercialisation and development of offshore wind technologies.
Further, the government is investing in research and development of new solar technologies, such as perovskite solar cells, which have the potential to be more efficient and cost-effective than traditional silicon-based solar cells. Oxford Photovoltaics, a UK-based company who were awarded £100,000 by a government funding programme, set a world record in 2018 by achieving an efficiency of 27.3%.
In addition to reducing gas usage, another way to cut greenhouse emissions is to try and remove CO2 from the atmosphere. One approach is the development of carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS) technologies. CCUS involves capturing carbon dioxide emissions from industrial processes and storing them in geological formations or using them in other applications. The UK government has committed to investing up to £1 billion to support the deployment of CCUS technologies, with the aim of capturing 10 million tonnes of CO2 per year by 2030.
Transition to renewable energy
The shift toward renewable energy sources and reduction of emissions is not without challenges, however. The development of these new technologies requires significant investment, and the integration of renewable energy into the existing power grid can be complex. In addition, the transition away from traditional oil and gas industries can have significant economic impacts, particularly in regions that are heavily reliant on these industries.
Despite these challenges, the move toward green energy represents a significant opportunity for innovation. By investing in new technologies and promoting the development of renewable energy sources, governments and companies can not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also drive economic growth and create new jobs in emerging industries.
Barker Brettell has a dedicated energy sector group that can assist and advise you. If you have an invention you would like to protect, do not hesitate to contact the author or your usual Barker Brettell attorney.