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Options for change – enabling technologies. Mark Akhurst BP Plc. Emission reduction. A further shift to natural gas. Nuclear power. Renewables. Bio-products. Carbon capture and storage. Energy conservation and efficiency. Mass transportation. Road transport. Buildings.

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Options for change – enabling technologies

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Options for change enabling technologies l.jpg

Options for change – enabling technologies

Mark Akhurst BP Plc

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Emission reduction

A further shift to natural gas

Nuclear power



Carbon capture and storage

Energy conservation and efficiency

Mass transportation

Road transport


Low energy appliances

Doing things differently

Options for change – enabling technologies

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Billion of Tons of Carbon Emitted per Year


14 GtC/y

Currently projected path

Seven “wedges”




7 GtC/y








Options for Change - Princeton Wedges Model

1.9 

Illustrating the scale of the challenge

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Natural Gas for Power Generation

  • Effort needed by 2050 for 1GT C reduction:

  • 1400 new gas fired power stations

  • = approx 2 per month

  • 190 bcfd NG by 2050

  • Alaska pipeline would be ~ 4 bcf.

Current proven reserves of natural gas ~ 65 years

Increased shift to gas would reduce this

Challenge is to discover new reserves of natural gas, and equally importantly, bring this gas to markets

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Power with Carbon Capture and Storage

Effort needed by 2050 for 1GT C reduction:

Carbon capture and storage at 700 GW coal power plants.

Graphics courtesy of DOE Office of Fossil Energy

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Carbon Storage

Effort needed by 2050 for 1 GT C reduction:

3500 Sleipners

A flow of CO2 into the Earth equal to the flow of oil out of the Earth today

Start now to gain experience with the permitting of storage sites.

Graphic courtesy of Statoil ASA

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Nuclear Electricity

Effort needed by 2050 for 1 GT C reduction:

Add 700 GW (twice current capacity): fourteen 1-GW plants/year.

Requires 4% pa CAGR (compared with 2% CAGR since 1990).

Plutonium (Pu) produced by 2050, if fuel cycles are unchanged: 4000 t Pu (and another 4000 t Pu if current capacity is continued).

Compare with ~ 1000 t Pu in all current spent fuel, ~ 100 t Pu in all U.S. weapons.

Graphic courtesy of NRC

Potential Pitfalls:

Nuclear proliferation and terrorism

Nuclear waste, NIMBY

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Wind Electricity

  • Effort needed by 2050 for 1 GT C reduction:

  • 300,000 5MW windmills.

    • Today: 5MW turbines are still in prototype phase (2MW is standard)

    • Land cover = Portugal

    • 1% of world steel prod’n

    • US built 2700 liberty ships in 5 years

Prototype of 80 m tall Nordex 2,5 MW wind

turbine located in Grevenbroich, Germany

(Danish Wind Industry Association)

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Solar PV Electricity

Effort needed by 2050 for 1 GT C reduction:

700 times current capacity

= 60 times faster (linear) growth rate than current

10 million hectares of land (less than 0.1% of world’s land, half the land area of Barbados)

Compare: land area required for 1GT reductions with biofuels = 250 million hectares)

Photo courtesy of BP

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Effort needed by 2050 for 1 GT C reduction:

Two billion 60 mpg cars running on biofuels

250 million hectares of high-yield crops (one sixth of world cropland).

Transport may not be best use of biomass/biofuel resources

Usina Santa Elisa mill in Sertaozinho, Brazil (http://www.nrel.gov/data/pix/searchpix.cgi?getrec=5691971&display_type=verbose&search_reverse=1_

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Mass Transportation

Effort needed by 2050 for 1 GT C reduction:

Mass transportation replaces 50% of projected road travel in small/medium vehicles

GHG per capita varies within 3:1 range in developed nations

6000 kg/capita in USA

2000 kg/capita in Germany

Role of mass transportation is a key element

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Road Transport – vehicle efficiency

Advanced fuels & lubes

Lightweight materials

Increased dieselisation (eg USA)


Photo courtesy of Toyota

Effort needed by 2050 for 1 GT C reduction:

1 billion cars on the roads today

2 billion by 2050

Current average efficiency 20 - 30 mpg

2050 average efficiency 50 - 60 mpg

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Buildings / Low Energy Appliances

  • Example:

  • 10 billion incandescent lamps today plus significant lighting by direct fuel burning

  • 50 billion by 2050

  • Full replacement with efficient bulbs (eg. LED) reduces 0.5 Gt/yr C in 2050, assuming existing carbon intensity of power generation

Space heating/cooling

Water heating



Effort needed by 2050 for 1 GT:

Buildings emit 3.9 Gt/yr carbon = 20% of total

Cutting emissions from buildings by 25% from 2050 BAU = 1 Gt/yr C

More than half potential in developing regions

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Doing things differently

Not a capping or reduction in valuable activity.

Reducing unnecessary, and unvalued waste: eg current standby capacity in USA = xx large power stations running at full capacity.

A shift in perception of “wealth” and “value” – recent examples of low-carbon wealth creation:

- cell phones

- IT / software / computer games

Urban Design


On demand services

Radical business models

Low-carbon wealth creation

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Humanity Already has the Tools

  • READINESS: All wedge technologies are already deployed somewhere at commercial scale.

  • PORTFOLIO: No single wedge technology can do the whole job, or even half the job.

  • CHOICE: Not every wedge technology is needed.

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