Hydrogen opportunities: an overview

This data-file provides an overview of eleven different processes for commercial hydrogen production: including their energy-economics, costs and CO2 emissions; plus a qualitative description of their opportunities, challenges and technical readiness.

Covered technologies include steam methane reforming, fossil fuel gasification, pyrolysis, renewable electrolysis, fuel cell electrolysis, solar photoelectrocatalysis and solar photocatalysis.

Our conclusion is that natural gas remains the most viable fuel source on a weighted basis, considering both cost and carbon emissions, It may also be easier to de-carbonise natural gas directly than via the hydrogen route.

Breakdown of global CO2 emissions

This data-file breaks down global CO2 emissions into 35 distinct categories, based on prior publications, our own models and calculations.

The long tail illustrates the complexity of decarbonisation. The largest single component of global emissions is passenger vehicles, but this comprises just c14% of the total CO2e.

A further 30 line-items all account for at least 1% of the world’s total emissions including electricity, heating, cement, metals, plastics, food, fertilizers, paper, manufacturing, livestock, agriculture, military, oil refining, fossil fuel production and landfill.


Major technologies to decarbonise power?

Leading Oil Majors will play a crucial role in decarbonising the energy system. Their initiatives should therefore be encouraged by policy-makers and ESG investors, particularly where new energy technologies are being developed, which will unlock further economic opportunities to accelerate the transition.

In order to help identify the leading companies, this-data file summarises c90 patents for de-carbonising power-generation. It is drawn from our database of over 3,000 distinct patents filed by the largest energy companies in 2018. These technologies will secure the role of fossil fuels, particularly natural gas, in a decarbonising energy system.

De-carbonising carbon?

Decarbonisation is often taken to mean the end of fossil fuels. But it could become more feasible simply to de-carbonise fossil fuels. This 19-page note explores two top opportunities: next-generation combustion technologies, which can meet the world’s energy needs relatively seamlessly, with zero carbon and little incremental cost. They are ‘Oxy-Combustion’ using the Allam Cycle and Chemical Looping Combustion. Leading Oil Majors support these solutions to create value advancing the energy transition.

Oil Companies Drive the Energy Transition?

There is only one way to decarbonise the energy system: leading companies must find economic opportunities in better technologies. No other route can source sufficient capital to re-shape such a vast industry that spends c$2trn per annum. We outline seven game-changing opportunities. Leading energy Majors are already pursuing them in their portfolios, patents and venturing. Others must follow suit.

Chemical Looping Progress?

Chemical Looping Combustion is a next-generation technology for carbon capture, with potential to “clean up” fossil fuel power and obviate CO2 emissions. Costs and energy penalties are dramatically lower than current technologies. E.g., TOTAL is trialling CLC to create power from petcoke.

But does it work? To answer this question, we have tabulated data from the technical literature on tests (to-date) of 40 chemical looping combustion pilots, which have run collectively for 10,000 hours.

Operational data are also presented from one trial, suggesting a 38% conversion efficiency of the energy in fossil fuels, leading to economic cost estimates (below).

Why the Thunder Said?

This 8-page report outlines the ‘four goals’ of Thunder Said Energy; and how we hope we can help your process…

The Energy Mix: 2050 and 2100

This model breaks down 2050 and 2100’s global energy market, based on a dozen core input assumptions.

You can ‘flex’ these assumptions, to see how it will affect future oil, coal and gas demand, as well as global carbon emissions.

We are positive on renewables, but fossil fuels retain a central role, particularly natural gas, which could ‘treble’ in our base case.

A fully decarbonised energy market is possible by 2100, but we advocate game-changing technologies that can accelerate the pace.

The Top Technologies in Energy

What are the top technologies to transform the global energy industry and the world? This data-file summarises where we have conducted differentiated analysis, across c55 technologies (and counting).

For each technology, we summarise the opportunity in two-lines. Then we score its economic impact, its technical maturity (TRL), and the depth of our work to-date. The output is a ranking of the top technologies, by category.

Download this data-file and you will also receive updates for a year, as we add more technologies; and we will also be happy to dig into any technologies you would like to see added to the list.