“THE technologies now exist to deliver massive energy savings and emission reductions,” says IChemE Energy Centre chair Stefaan Simons on the topic of reaching the climate targets set at COP21.
The conclusion was reached at the Low Carbon Summit on Friday, which took place in London. The event was organised by the Energy Centre and the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) and featured talks from industry and academia. The venue was provided by the UK government’s Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which formed in July, replacing the former Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
Simons also highlighted the importance of low carbon technologies.
“When taken together, the topics discussed during this summit represent a pathway, which I believe can lead to a decarbonised energy system that can be realised immediately. These technologies will help us achieve the targets set at COP21. And the time has come for implementation,” he added.
David Clarke, CEO of the Energy Technologies Institute, delivered the opening address where he outlined his thoughts on achieving the targets set out in the Paris Agreement. He placed the top priority on decarbonising electricity by 2030, followed by an acceleration of heat decarbonisation – retaining centralised grid systems but making them smarter, with the use of data and internet technology.
Clarke also noted the challenges in achieving this, with emphasis on the increasing uncertainties surrounding UK energy policy and deployment.
“There are a few technologies out there that can and will shape the future of UK energy, and most of them are in the hands of the UK government. From a UK perspective, failure is not an option; a political will is needed to deliver energy solutions,” said Clarke.
Patricia Thornley, professor at the University of Manchester and director of the SUPERGEN Bioenergy Hub, said bioenergy can provide 44% of primary energy demand and reduce carbon emissions in the electricity generating sector by 80–90%.
Tata Steel’s manager of Energy Optimisation, Chris Williams, explained a case study in industrial waste heat recovery. He said the steel industry produces some of the UK’s largest quantities of waste heat, and that Tata has invested significant capital in developing a strategy and method for using it. The result has been an increase in onsite electricity generation by over 12 MWe/y and a saving of over 50,000 t/y of indirect CO2 emissions.
Dan Sadler, technical advisor at Future of the Gas Networks, also presented a case study on the H21 Leeds City Gate project, which aims to convert the natural gas supply of Leeds to hydrogen power in a bid to decarbonise heat. If successful, it will reduce carbon emissions by 73% and could be launched UK-wide.
The UK Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) demonstrated that nuclear power had provided 60 TWh of electricity in 2015, saving around 49m t of CO2 emissions – the equivalent of taking 78% of the UK’s cars off the road.
The Association of Decentralised Energy’s head of policy, Jonathan Graham, made the case for combined heat and power as a means to to reduce the amount of waste heat in the UK. He commented: “Power stations, industry and UK cities collectively waste more heat than is used by every home in the UK.”
Waste was also the highlight of director of Giraffe Innovation, Rob Holdway’s talk on the circular economy.
“If you are going to do energy policy and resource efficiency you need to put it into context. We must work more closely with manufacturers, to consider end-of-life procedure for products and establish quick wins that incentivise consumers to be more energy efficient,” said Holdway.
Other solutions discussed included carbon capture and storage from Tees Valley Combined Authority’s Mark Lewis, and carbon utilisation from the CEO and CTO of CCm Research, Pawel Kislelewski and Peter Hammond.
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