Green deserts: a final frontier for forest carbon?

Reforestation can offset 15bn ton of CO2 per year from 3bn global acres. But is there potential to afforest any of the world’s 11bn acres of arid and semi-arid lands, by desalinating and distributing seawater? Our 18-page note answers this question. While the energy economics do not work in the most extreme deserts (e.g., the Sahara), $60-120/ton CO2 prices may be sufficient in semi-arid climates, while the best economics of all use waste water from oil and gas, such as in the Permian basin or potentially the Middle East.

Green Hydrogen Economy: Holy Roman Empire?

This 16-page note models the green hydrogen value chain: harnessing renewable energy, electrolysing water, storing the hydrogen, then generating usable power in a fuel cell. Today’s end costs are very high, at 64c/kWh. Even by 2050, our best case scenario is 14c/kWh, which would elevate average household electricity bills by $440-990/year compared with the superior alternative of decarbonizing natural gas.

Energy storage: batteries versus supercapacitors?

Supercapacitors may eclipse lithium ion batteries in the hybridization of transport and industry. Their energy density is improving. Potential CO2 savings could surpass 1bn tons per year. IRRs of 10-50% can be achieved, even prior to CO2 prices. These are our conclusions after reviewing 2,000 Western patents. GE, Siemens, Skeleton and ZapGo are among the leading companies exposed to the theme.

3D printing an energy transition?

Additive manufacturing (AM) can eliminate 6% of global CO2, across manufacturing, transport, heat and supply chains. We have quantified each opportunity and reviewed 5,500 patents to identify who benefits, among Capital Goods companies, AM Specialists and the Materials sector.

Efficient frontiers: improvements from a CO2 price within oil and gas?

A CO2 price of $40-80/ton could double the pace of industrial efficiency gains in the oil and gas sector, eliminating 15-20% of its CO2 emissions, as outlined in this 14-page note. Cost-curves would steepen in E&P and refining. Technology leaders benefit. Spending would also accelerate, particularly for heat exchangers, compressors, digitization and electrification projects.

Energy transition technologies: the pace of progress?

This short 3-page note summmarizes  20 different TSE patent screens, to assess the pace of progress in different energy technologies. Lithium batteries are most actively researched. Autonomous vehicles and additive manufacturing technologies are accelerating fastest. Wind and solar remain heavily researched, but the technologies are maturing. The steepest deceleration of interest has been in fuel cells and biofuels. It remains interesting to compare the pace of progress within sub-industries. Our full underlying data-file behind this research paper is linked here.

Net zero Oil Majors: four cardinal virtues?

Attaining ‘Net Zero’ can uplift an Energy Major’s valuation by c50%. Specifically, this means emitting no net CO2, either from the company’s operations (Scope 1&2 emissions) or from the use of its products (Scope 3). This 19-page report shows how a Major can best achieve ‘net zero’ by exhibiting four cardinal virtues. Decarbonization is not a threat but an opportunity.

Can carbon-neutral fuels re-shape the oil industry?

Fuel retailers have a game-changing opportunity seeding new forests. They could offset c15bn tons of CO2 per annum, enough to accommodate 85Mbpd of oil and 400TCF of annual gas use in a fully decarbonized energy system. The cost is competitive, well below c$50/ton. It is natural to sell carbon credits alongside fuels and earn a margin on both. Hence, we calculate 15-25% uplifts in the value of fuel retail stations, allaying fears over CO2, and benefitting as road fuel demand surges after COVID.

On the road: long-run oil demand after COVID-19?

Another devastating impact of COVID-19 may still lie ahead: a 1-2Mbpd upwards jolt in global oil demand. This would trigger disastrous under-supply in the oil markets, stifle the economic recovery and distract from energy transition. This 17-page note upgrades our 2022-30 oil demand forecasts by 1-2Mbpd above our pre-COVID forecasts. The increase is from road fuels, reflecting lower mass transit, lower load factors and resultant traffic congestion.

Decarbonize Heat?

Natural gas currently fuels two-thirds of residential and commercial heating, which in turn comprises c10% of global CO2. We have assessed ten technologies to decarbonize heat, including heat pumps, renewables, biogas and hydrogen. The lowest cost and most practical solution is to double down on natural gas, alongside nature-based carbon offsets. Global gas demand for heating should continue rising by 3bcfd per year.