Mitigating methane: what methods?

This data-file screens the methods available to monitor for methane emissions. Notes and metrics are tabulated for Method 21, Optical Gas Imaging, fixed sensors, ground labs, aircrafts, drones and satellites; including advances at the cutting edge of each method.

Emerging screening methods, such as drones and trucks are also scored, based on results from an excellent recent technical trial. The best drones can detect almost all methane leaks >90% faster than traditional methods.

Companies developing next-generation methane-mitigation technologies are screened, including 10 public  companies and 33 private companies. This peer group filed 150 patents in 2018-19. 8 companies seem particularly exciting to us.

Operators are also screened, across the dozen largest Energy Majors, to estimate their methane leaks and broader methane intensity across the supply chain.

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.

Biofuel technologies: an overview?

This data-file provides an overview of the 2.6Mbpd global biofuels industry, across its seven main components: corn ethanol, sugarcane ethanol, vegetable oils, palm oil, waste oils (renewable diesel), cellulosic biomass and algal biofuels.

For each biofuel technology, we describe the production process, advantages and drawbacks; plus we quantify  the market size, typical costs, CO2 intensities and yields per acre.

While biofuels can be lower carbon than fossil fuels, they are not zero-carbon, hence continued progress is needed to improve both their economics and their process-efficiencies.

Next-generation nuclear: the cutting edge?

This data-file screens 15 companies at the cutting edge of nuclear technology, to assess whether fission or fusion breakthroughs can realistically be factored into long-run forecasts of energy markets or the energy transition.

Our conclusion is “not yet”. Despite many signs of exciting progress, the average technical readiness in our sample is TRL 4 (testing components). Four companies are working to lab-scale prototypes. Energy gains and system stability remain key challenges.

The database summarises each company, including its technology, location, employee count, notable backers and technical technical readiness. Our notes also cover expected costs or timings, where disclosed.

CO2 Separation: an overview, a breakthrough?

This data-file summarises six leading CO2-separation technologies. For each one, we outline the process, its technical maturity, costs, CO2-selectivity, energy-intensity and drawbacks. Our notes and workings are also included in subsequent tabs.

A $50/ton carbon price would be needed to incentivise more CCS, using today’s conventional, technically mature methods. The problem remains, that these means suffer from energy penalties of 15-30%.

Metal Organic Frameworks could be a material breakthrough, with c60-80% lower costs and energy penalties. These remarkable materials can contain 10,000m2 of surface area in a single gram, with impressive tuning to adsorb specific gases. Our file contains new notes on MOFs, including the technology leaders: 4 listed companies, 5 start-ups and 225 patents from 2018-19.

Make CO2 into valuable products?

This data-file is a screen of 25 companies, which are turning CO2 into valuable products, such as next-generation plastics, foams, concretes, specialty chemicals and agricultural products.

For each company, we have assessed the commercial potential, technical readiness, partners, size, geography and other key parameters. 10 companies have very strong commercial potential. 8 concepts are technically ready,  5 are near-commercial, while 12 are earlier-stage.

The featured companies include c20 start-ups. But leading listed companies include BP (as a venture partner), Chevron Phillips, Covestro, Repsol, Shell (as a venture partner) and Saudi Aramco.

LNG Process Technologies — an Overview

This file will give a helpful overview of the different process technologies, which are used in LNG liquefaction: APCI, APX (Exxon), Optimised Cascade (Conoco), Fluid Cascade (Equinor), DMR, SMR, PRICO (Golar) and MMLS (Shell, small-scale). For each one, we summarise how it works, advantages and disadvantages, plus typical train sizes, energy efficiencies, examples and involved-companies. We also touch on applicability for FLNG and small-scale LNG.