Criticisms of Carbon Offsets and Reforestation?

The aim of this data-file is to tabulate the criticisms of carbon offsetting through nature based solutions such as reforestation.

The full database contains over 100 criticisms, summarized through quotes and paraphrasings, which we have encountered in our communications, in technical papers and in press articles.

We have collated the criticisms into ten main categories, which are ranked by year and summarized in the data-file (chart above).  We argue these challenges can be overcome and remain constructive on carbon offsets using nature based solutions.

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 c80 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; and a “cost curve” for the total costs to decarbonise global energy.

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.

Desalination by reverse osmosis: the economics?

35bn tons of desalinated water are produced each year, absorbing 250 TWH of energy, or 0.4% of total global energy consumption.

These numbers have already doubled since 2005 and could rise sharply in the future: water use per capita remains 50-90% lower in the emerging world than in the United States, populations are growing and aquifers depleting.

Hence, this model quantifies the energy economics of desalination via reverse osmosis, which requires 3.6kWh of energy per m3 of desalinated sea-water. A cost of $1.0/m3 is necessary for a passable IRR.

Impacts can be stress-tested from varying energy prices, CO2 prices, capex costs, opex costs and energy efficiency. Our own base case estimates are derived from past projects and technical papers.

Super-capacitors: technology leaders?

This data-file screens for the ‘top twenty’ technology leaders in super-capacitors, by assessing c2,000 Western patents filed since 2013.

Each company’s recent progress is summarized, while the full patent database is provided for further details.

Subsequent tabs in the data-file contain all our notes from technical papers into the topic, examples of SCs electric parameters, examples of their deployment and our economic calculations.

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.

Additive manufacturing: technology leaders?

This data-file tabulates 5,500 patents into additive manufacturing (AM, a.k.a., 3D printing), in order to identify technology leaders.  Patent filings over time show a sharp acceleration, making AM one of the fastest growth areas for the energy transition.

14 companies with concentrated exposure to the theme are profiled, including their size, revenues, share of revenues from AM and 3-6 lines of notes on each company.

The full screen also shows growing AM activity from Cap Goods, aerospace, automotive and oil services companies.

Use of thermoplastic materials is also seen by narrowing in upon 130 patents from leading chemicals companies (e.g., Covestro, Solvay, SABIC, Arkema).

Examples from the patents show how AM can reduce costs by 25-90% and lead times by 10-90%.

 

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.

How do capital costs and CO2 prices impact power project economics?

This data-file looks through all of our different power models, and summarizes their sensitivity to capital costs and CO2 prices. Specifically, we tabulate what power price is require, in c/kWh, to earn specific unlevered WACCs, on gas, coal, nuclear, wind, solar and hydrogen.

From conversations with investors, we suspect many wind and solar projects are being financed at lower WACCs (c5%) than conventional gas projects (at c10%). The sensitivity of wind and solar projects is also 4.5x higher.

It is interesting to think how clear CO2 prices or varying interest rates in the future might change the relative attitudes toward these technologies.  You can flex the CO2 price  in the model, which changes the economics accordingly.

US decarbonization: a model of CO2 prices

We have calculated the effectiveness of a CO2 price for decarbonizing the United States, using a granular model of US emissions, built up commodity-by-commodity and sector-by-sector.

We find a real $40/ton CO2 price, starting in 2021, escalating by 5% pa above inflation, can fully decarbonize the country by 2050, while creating vast economic benefits and shifts in energy usage.

The model calculates the incremental impacts on energy, oil, gas, coal, electricity, renewables, grid capacity, investment, jobs and industrial efficiency.

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.