Existing technology can make vital difference for energy transition

11 March 2024 Consultancy.uk 3 min. read

The International Energy Agency has said that the energy transition is ‘picking up speed’. But structural changes and new technology is needed to ensure that this momentum is not lost, according to Clare Miszewska-Hall, head of global sales and marketing at energy equipment and solutions consultancy AnTech.

Tim Gould, the chief energy economist at the International Energy Agency (IEA) said that real progress was being made but that international collaboration was also needed. He pointed out that there had been some movement in new solutions offering alternatives to fossil fuels, but further investment would be needed, as were structural changes at a global level.

While Clare Miszewska-Hall finds it encouraging to hear the IEA talk about the positive moves towards the energy transition, however, she contends that there has to be some recognition, that while investment is important, taking a look at existing technology will help speed up the journey to net-zero. Recycling technology from carbon-heavy industries of the past could make net zero more realistic proposition to more organisations, while saving money in the process.

Existing technology can make vital difference for energy transition

The head of global Sales and marketing at AnTech continues, “The energy transition, the 2050 net zero deadline and the general move away from a complete reliance on fossil fuels is going to dominate not just the energy sector, but all aspects of life over the coming years. As Tim Gould emphasised, global collaboration is the key to success. This is certainly something we believe is the critical element if we are to meet deadlines and ensure that we have a greener society. There has to be some give and take from both sides. An acceptance that we have to look to alternative sources to contribute to our energy, but also a realisation that oil and gas will still need to play an important role in the energy mix.”

Up to 20% of current levels of oil and gas will still be needed as part of that mix, according to Miszewska-Hall. And without collaboration across governments, campaign groups and society more generally, she contends that the world will not “be able to get to where we need to be to achieve net zero”.

In particular, she notes one of the statements often associated with the energy transition is “the amount of new technology needed to ensure we can get to and safely store these potential new energy sources”. Miszewska-Hall says this gives the impression that “there needs to be a complete rethink of how we approach energy collection and storage” – which could be incredibly expensive and potentially add years to the process.

“There seems to have been a complete dismissal of anything being currently used in the oil and gas industry, simply because it is associated with fossil fuels,” Miszewska-Hall counters. “Solutions already available in the sector can make a huge contribution to the move towards net zero. The hazardous area technology used for containing hydrogen for example, should be a critical part of new hydrogen sites. Drilling new underground storage for hydrogen and carbon capture is something that existing technology could really easily adapt to and are in some cases already doing so.”

Pointing to the current state of decarbonisation, she cites geothermal energy as being put forward as one of the key elements of net zero. However, the extraordinary temperatures needed to allow geothermal to help with the production of electricity makes it “a financially and logistically difficult task”. But again, current technologies can help, as high temperature electronics used in the oil and gas industry “can be used to monitor geothermal wells, helping reduce risk and cost.”

Miszewska-Hall concludes, “The energy transition is an inevitable and necessary movement. As the IEA has pointed out we have already made some progress, but we need to ensure that we build on this momentum. If technology from the oil and gas sector can help with this momentum then we should absolutely be using it. That, in association with increased global collaboration will help all sides achieve the overall goal and a greener future.”

Founded in 1992, AnTech is an Exeter-headquartered consultancy. Specialising in technology and energy equipment, the firm provides a number of key services to complex projects across the country, from coiled tubing drilling services hazardous area products.