Powering the energy needs of tomorrow

By Robert Francki | July 30, 2020

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, it is projected that between 2018 and 2050, the world’s energy consumption will increase by nearly fifty percent. This data underscores the reality that the energy value chain has started to change. With that being said, to achieve the profound transformation required; not only will we significantly need to increase energy production, but the energy industry will need to collectively step-up and serve society in the way society is expecting and calling for.

It’s certainly not a secret that most of mankind’s enterprises and activities need to be decarbonized and therefore electrified. The world’s electricity generation needs to increase to address demand and replace fossil fuel electricity generation and fossil fuel use in the industry.

Beyond pure generation, we will need to move all of these electrons from regions of abundant renewable sources to regions of high demand, while applying new technologies, making power systems resilient to new climate imperatives, and using digitalization to drive efficiency and avoid waste. How energy has been generated, distributed, and used over the past century faces an imperative of continuous and radical change for the next hundred years, at least.

When it comes to power generation, we are identifying opportunities to deploy electricity beyond traditional limits, integrating increasing levels of reliable power into the grid while lowering greenhouse gas emissions, providing low-emitting baseload sources of energy, and incorporating renewable power by implementing hybrid systems to reduce coal and diesel power generation. Power systems will integrate many more sources and will inherently become more complex, a challenge we are prepared to face.

Creating a world with fewer carbon emissions that is powered by more renewable energy, however, will continue to require residual fossil fuels. As operations transition, these will be increasingly produced, refined, and upgraded by means of renewable power to help achieve the most efficient flowsheet possible. In parallel, this minimized supply of hydrocarbon fuels will most likely and necessarily be primarily used for value-add fuels and products, as well for activities that cannot be electrified, and will be produced using highly integrated and complex flowsheets. And finally, in the transitional gas economy, specific fuels like LNG will more often be turned to for baseload power rather than other less attractive hydrocarbons.

The energy transition provides us with an opportunity to collectively develop more sustainable business practices by applying radically different technologies and approaches to redefine our roles in the aggregate supply chain. At Hatch, we are optimistic about the future: oil and gas related emissions can be reduced; green technologies, including Hydrogen, are on a strong trajectory; more hydropower potential remains; safe nuclear—particularly the application of SMR technology—is a major key to a sustainable and practical energy mix; the ability to step change electrification is within sight; remote communities can share in access to energy with hybrid systems, and; with conviction of purpose, climate change can be controlled.

Our commitment remains to helping our clients respond to their toughest energy challenges with innovative solutions that create a consequential change in how we power the world, not just today but also tomorrow.

What critical role will you play in the energy transition?