A low carbon energy future: challenges for governments and industry

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REM 2016 concluded its works with a round table with the participation of the sessions chairmen, who summarized the major topics discussed in the two days conference on a “low carbon energy future”.

With the signature by 195 countries of the Paris Cop-21 conference agreement, the transition towards a low carbon economy has definitely started, with the ambitious yet vital target of maintaining the GHG emissions at levels low enough to safeguard the global temperature increase within 2°C.

In this new scenario, a key theme of the conference was centered around the concept of circular economy, as a pillar to balance economic growth with sustainability, by increasing energy efficiency and by reusing as much as possible the products of the industrial processes, as in the case of the research activities aimed at converting CO2 into useful products, such as methanol or formaldehyde.

The conference sessions have discussed a wide range of technological options able to contribute in the decrease of  GHG emissions, such as the valorization of low heating value gas and the abatement of flaring, the production of energy from urban wastes, the CO2 biofixation in microalgae or the exploitation of marine wave energy.

A key message conveyed by the two days conference is “global problems, local solutions”:  a low carbon energy will be built by resorting to a wide array of technologies, to be designed and adapted to local contexts, as in the cases, discussed during the sessions, of District Heating and Power Generation in Aosta, San Donato Milanese and Alcantara, of the microgrid experiment built around an industrial site in Le Marche region and serving also the surrounding territory, and the innovative technology for capturing CO2 using algae developed by a local start up company in Ravenna.

The contribution of the Oil&Gas industry, in addition, will concentrate on the promotion of natural gas as a clean fuel able to reduce GHG emissions by 40% with respect to heavier fossil fuels, as well as on CO2 capture and on the adoption and diffusion of more efficient technologies and processes. 

The round table has been concluded by remarking how building public acceptance will be vital to guarantee a broad and fast dissemination of low carbon technologies: early involvement of key stakeholders in the projects and more efficient communication of the benefits of green technologies are two of the key issues that both the industry and the policy makers will have to address in the near future.

All the issues discussed  during REM 2016 will be also a core part of the program of the forthcoming OMC 2017, to be held in Ravenna, form 29 to 31 March 2017, which will focus on “TRANSITION TO A SUSTAINABLE ENERGY MIX: THE CONTRIBUTION OF THE OIL & GAS INDUSTRY”.

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