Last month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its landmark 6th Assessment Report on the State of Global Warming and the Response to Climate Change and the Greenhouse Gas Emissions that are Driving That Change. The report sounded like a “code red for humanity” and warned unequivocally that we have reached a point of no going back. Humans have already changed the climate irreversibly, and now it is of the utmost importance for the global community to do everything in their power to mitigate the damage and limit rising temperatures and future greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible.
While climate scientists have been ringing the alarm bells for years and these doomsday warnings have become commonplace and may even sound a bit mundane, the urgency of the report is all too real and it seems like world leaders are finally ready to move on react . As the novel coronavirus pandemic hit the world and disrupted global supply chains, shutting down industries, pounding fossil fuel demand, and slowing the flow of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, this disruption to the status quo provided a rare opportunity to rewrite one cleaner energy future, and some companies and countries have embraced it. The pandemic has triggered what in many places today is a concerted effort for a clean energy transition.
Let’s not overdo it; Oil, gas and coal are still king. And they won’t go away overnight. But solar and wind power are becoming increasingly competitive, and there are extremely promising investments in research and development of new clean energy technologies. And some of the most imaginative and innovative clean energy initiatives come from one surprising place: the oil and gas industry.
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The story goes on
For many who work in the fossil fuel industry, staying ahead of the curve and leading the clean energy revolution has been a breeze. And when these converts leave the oil fields, they take oil and gas technology and know-how with them. One of the biggest emerging industries that promises to explode in the years to come is energy storage. Renewable energies such as sun and wind are variable, ie dependent on the weather and daylight, and their flow of energy into the grid is anything but constant. This means that scalable, inexpensive, and reliable energy storage systems that can collect excess energy during peak production times and feed it back into the grid at peak demand times are critical to building a future in which renewable energies can displace fossil fuels.
There are a thousand and one approaches to energy storage, from green hydrogen to slurry of concrete blocks. But one of the more interesting ideas that is getting a lot of investor attention right now is a method that is superficially abhorrent to the clean energy sector: fracking. Quidnet is based in Houston
Pumping water underground, not to release oil and gas, but to store that water in a high pressure environment until energy is needed. At this point the water is released, rises to the surface, spins a turbine and generates electricity. “Quidnet represents a new generation of Texan startups who are tapping into the deluge of funding that clean energy companies now have. Their payrolls are filled with oil and gas industry veterans leveraging the drilling and geological expertise born of the fracking revolution – an indication of a promising area of job growth in Texas, ”Texas Monthly reported last week.
The green frackers are by no means the only example of oil and gas workers using their know-how for the greener good. Drill bits use their cutting-edge technologies to improve geothermal energy potential, a movement led by other Texans including Fervo Energy of Houston. Others use oil and gas industry methods to capture and store carbon in underground wells.
“Every day I meet a different oil and gas man who is now an air conditioning entrepreneur,” Maynard Holt, chairman of the board of fracking financier Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co., told Texas Monthly. “I think there will be an explosion of clean energy activity in the oil and gas sector and we will be stunned for the next five to seven years. . . how many of these problems are handled by the oil and gas industry. “
By Haley Zaremba for Oil Genealogie
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