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How can the energy sector realise a greener future?

Nurdianah Md Nur
Nurdianah Md Nur • 4 min read
How can the energy sector realise a greener future?
Climate tech and hydrogen fuel will be among the key discussion topics at Gastech 2023 in Singapore from Sept 5 to Sept 8. Photo: Unsplash
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With electricity as the backbone of the digital economy and lives, the energy sector must decarbonise for us to reach net-zero emissions globally by 2050. Yet, current commitments by governments worldwide fall short of what is required. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that global coal demand grew by 1.5% to 4.7 billion tonnes in the first half of this year. China, India and Southeast Asian countries are expected to collectively account for three out of every four tonnes of coal consumed worldwide in 2023.

One of the ways to achieve the net-zero target is for renewable energy to account for at least 65% of global electricity generation by 2030, according to the IEA. However, fully switching from fossil fuels to green energy sources, such as solar and wind, will take some time as it requires new innovations and major infrastructure changes like renewable power generation and grids.

However, Christopher Hudson, president of dmg events, which is organising the Gastech 2023 event at the Singapore Expo from Sept 5 to Sept 8, says: “Natural gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) can be used as ‘bridging fuels’ to reduce emissions as we transition from higher-carbon sources to renewable energy sources.”

He continues: “According to the IEA, since 2010, the switch from coal to gas has saved around 500 million tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere. LNG is natural gas that has been supercooled and condensed into a liquid form, making it more efficient to transport and store. LNG and natural gas supply can also be quickly ramped up or down to match fluctuations in energy demand, helping to solve the issue of intermittency as we move towards renewable sources of energy.”

Embracing hydrogen

Adding hydrogen to the future energy mix is another decarbonisation pathway countries should consider. This is because the combustion of hydrogen is emission-free since the only by-product is water.

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Recognising this, forward-thinking countries have already published national hydrogen strategies, notes Hudson. Among them is Singapore which believes hydrogen could supply half of the country’s power needs by 2050. It is supporting the development and deployment of hydrogen power by:

  • Experimenting with the use of advanced hydrogen technologies at the cusp of commercial readiness through pathfinder projects
  • Investing in research and development to unlock technological bottlenecks
  • Pursuing international collaborations to enable supply chains for low-carbon hydrogen
  • Undertaking long-term land and infrastructure planning
  • Supporting workforce training and development of its broader hydrogen economy.

Despite its potential, embracing hydrogen as a future energy source is a complex undertaking as it is a nascent technology and requires many changes. This is why Gastech’s Hydrogen Zone will bring together energy ministers, CEOs, thought leaders, strategic partners, and financial and technical experts to discuss how to enable hydrogen-based solutions to help strengthen energy security in a sustainable manner. “Gastech will play a critical role in helping to develop the pathways that will enable policymakers and industry leaders to reach their ambitions [of making hydrogen a scalable fuel of the future],” claims Hudson.

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Decarbonising the energy value chain

Besides looking at cleaner energy sources, it is also imperative to reduce carbon emissions from the energy value chain. This calls for the use of physical technologies, such as carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS), and digital technologies, including AI and remote sensing.

For instance, by leveraging AI in its pre-cooldown process, Petronas LNG Complex achieved a consistent and optimised cooling rate for its main cryogenic heat exchanger. Consequently, it reduced carbon emissions by 17% compared to the past average.

To help more energy companies discover how various technologies can benefit them, Gastech 2023 will also feature a Climatetech zone. “The dedicated conference and exhibition will bring together established energy players, policy analysts, investors and big tech to discuss credible, tech-enabled routes to net zero,” states Hudson. Industry leaders will also share learnings from CCUS projects, updates on carbon sequestration initiatives, and strategies for deriving commercial value from new and emerging climate technologies.

It will take a collective effort from the public and private sectors globally to effectively drive down emissions and safeguard future energy supplies. Since sharing knowledge is the first key step, Gastech 2023 will see more than 600 strategic speakers — from policymakers to innovators and C-suite executives — sharing valuable insights into the energy industry and its trajectory.

“The current energy transition is unprecedented in both scale and speed. So over four days at the Singapore Expo, Gastech’s peer-reviewed strategic conference programme will provide delegates with real-world insights that will help them to better understand the dynamics of the world’s evolving energy needs. Conversations will range from energy industry megatrends, net-zero ambitions, next-generation energy solutions, project funding, energy transition, and collaboration and bilateral trade. I am confident that the show we have developed for 2023 will deliver real progress towards a cleaner, more affordable, and more secure energy future,” concludes Hudson.

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