IPE40 keynote lecture by Philip Ringrose – Application of concepts in sustainability and physics to stimulate the transition to a low-carbon energy mix

As part of its 40th anniversary celebrations the Institute of Petroleum Engineering at Heriot Watt University will host five keynote lectures during the academic year 2015/2016.
On Wednesday 25 November Philip Ringrose (Statoil & NTNU, Trondheim, Norway) will present on “Application of concepts in sustainability and physics to stimulate the transition to a low-carbon energy mix”. The abstract is below.
Tea & coffee will be served from 4:30-5pm.
Philip Ringrose is a Specialist in Petroleum Geoscience and CO2 Storage at Statoil in Trondheim Norway. He is also Adjunct Professor in CO2 Storage at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim. Between 2014 and 2015 he served as President of the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE). Between 1990 and 1997, he was a Lecturer and Research Fellow at the Heriot-Watt Institute of Petroleum Engineering, Edinburgh, UK. He has BSc and PhD degrees in geology from Universities of Edinburgh and Strathclyde, Scotland, UK. He has published widely on reservoir geoscience and flow in rock media and is on the Editorial Board of Petroleum Geoscience.

Sustainable development is that which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In applying these concepts to global energy options, the key challenge is to find ways of making low-carbon energy solutions sustainable. Concerning the three main classes of low-carbon energy, the last decade has seen a significant growth in the renewables and natural gas sectors; however, CCS has made limited progress. An important route to making CCS a more sustainable option is via CO2-EOR as part of Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) systems.

To address societal aspects of sustainable development, we need to appreciate that our future depends on achieving a low-carbon energy mix. While society continues to debate the many aspects of present and future climate change, it pays to appreciate the history of the discovery of the greenhouse gas effect. The scientific case for the urgent need to protect our atmosphere from the damaging effect of man-made emissions of greenhouse gases is now overwhelming, and is essentially a matter of appreciating the principles of physics.

There is strong case for the need for CCS in the future energy mix, if modern human society wishes to maintain economic development following its historic and current dependence on fossil energy. The key question for today is how to make CCS a sustainable activity, alongside the renewable and natural gas components of the low-carbon energy mix. While there has been some progress with CCS, with 22 large-scale projects in operation or construction in 2015, the growth of CCS falls well short of the stated ambitions. The feasibility and viability of CCS has been demonstrated by several industrial-scale CCS projects, especially in Norway and Canada, and these projects help us to identify the specific technologies needed to realize CCS globally.