Fossil Fuels

Clean fuels & fuel alternatives. Are we ready & able to embrace clean liquid fuels with confidence?

By December 17, 2018 No Comments

As COP24 draws to a close & the many vitally important messages begin to filter through the delegates, governmental representatives & business leaders; we are all very aware that we have a vast amount of work ahead of us. It has been made abundantly clear that the responsibility of tackling climate change falls at all our feet & we now look to governments & industry leaders to make the investments & the choices to enable planet Earth to have a sustainable & bright future.

During COP24 we saw the emotionally charged responses of many attendees spill over into passionate outbursts. Greta Thunberg, the 15 old Swedish student,has encouraged an entire generation to take action against policy makers which threaten their young futures.

Many media sources have criticised the fact that COP24 was held in Poland, considering the countries reliance on & support of their coal industry. The entrance of COP24 was filled with a Coal display, extolling the virtues & versatility of this fossil fuel. Video footage of Coal Miners speaking about their need for the coal industry to continue & their concerns that the expectations of reducing Co2 emissions, will destroy their livelihoods; was received with outrage & dismay by many environmentalists.

During the US Coal Forum presentation, activists opposed to the use of fossil fuels, jeered at US government representatives as they tried to explore how coal has a place as a clean fuel system. Despite coal consumption falling in the US, Donald Trump has caused more irritation as he tries reversing the Obama-era standards, which would make building coal mining plants easier.

According to the US State Department, the event (at COP24) was intended to “showcase ways to use fossil fuels as cleanly and efficiently as possible, as well as the use of emission-free nuclear energy”. (1)

However, despite the emotive responses of some attendees during COP24, we must not lose sight of the end goal, the purpose of COP24 & the expectations of the Paris Agreement. Tackling climate change must happen & it must happen now.

One of the key areas we continually see a vast amount of media coverage about is the emissions crisis in our fuel consumption & emissions. Diesel, (still the dirty word), has, as we have discussed before (, exponentially cleaned up it’s image with the use of clean diesel & bio fuel additives. Petroleum has of course undergone various guises over the last 20 years & now we have the capacity to run virtually emission free combustion engine vehicles.

We are all aux fait with biofuels, hydrogen, electric, clean diesel & advanced petroleum’s, but there are innovative companies across the globe who are also making waves using hitherto un-thought of base materials to produce sustainable fuel alternatives.

NextFuel, a Scandinavian startup, has presented their carbon neutral fuel alternative at COP24. Their innovative products base ingredients are either Elephant Grass or Bagasse.

Elephant grass (miscanthus giganteus) is a unique type of specialized grass that can grow 4 meters in only 100 days and produces several crops each year. This differs from wood biomass that needs decades to grow and requires many times that same land area. (2)

Bagasse: Sugar cane is also a fast-growing plant with extremely efficient CO2 capture similar to elephant grass. Bagasse is the residue that remains after sugarcane stalks are crushed to extract their juice. Our reactor can also use this as raw material, basically for free.(2)

NextFuel processes make use of these sustainable crops thus:

“The grass is harvested, dried and then used as raw material in our revolutionary, patented reactor. The production process takes a little less than 30 minutes, and during the process we produce and use our own clean energy. The new fuel is then cooled and cut into a briquette that is ready to use in the power sector and many different industries.”

“The new briquette has close to the same energy density as coal. Because it is made of grass, it is both cheap and CO2 negative.” (2)

Another innovation is the use of algae as a biofuel & in particular how algae can be produced for use in biodiesel. Exxon Mobil & Synthetic Genomics have been producing algae on an industrial scale since 2009 with the intention of using this product as a low-emission transportation fuel. Algae based biofuel can in theory produce seven times more energy per acre than corn-based ethanol, making it an effective & sustainable product.

“The goal here is to get to a sustainable, renewable biofuel that can be cost-competitive with pumping oil out of the ground, but can scale to levels that go far beyond demonstration levels,” says Oliver Fetzer, chief executive officer at Synthetic Genomics. “We see this step as a very important step along the way to scalability.” (3)

Despite the insistence that diesel has been responsible for considerable contributions to the emissions crisis we now face, innovators such as Dolphin N2 have seen the possibilities & potential of harnessing clean diesel as a continued clean fuel source. By utilising their patented CryoPower split cycle diesel engine, they are capable of enabling heavy duty transportation vehicles to continue using the heavy weight power of clean diesel, with up to 90% less emissions out technologies.

On Wednesday 12th December 2018, COP24 held a series of seminars & talks aimed at discussing Clean Fuels & their place in tackling Climate change.

Although the COP24 Twitter feeds were continually being updated, it was noted that the ‘Clean Fuels’ day feeds were limited. One quote picked out from the extensive social media coverage of the event, was:

“Cross-sectoral symbiosis between the power and mining sector, infrastructure area and civil engineering is the key to circular economy – is one of the conclusions from the Clean Fuels Day in the Polish Pavilion.” (4) COP24 Twitter feed

However, the context of this statement seems somewhat lost, without a corroborating report.

The CONCAWE report has already explored the notion of a combination fuels future for our transportation systems, with the final report showing that even with a combination of liquid fuels, biofuels & electrification: emissions can still be driven down to Paris Agreement levels. (5)

Professor Neville Jackson, Ricardo chief technology and innovation officer, wrote as part of a Ricardo introduction to the collaborative CONCAWE report on:

Mass EV adoption and Low Carbon Fuel scenarios both achieve similar reductions in total parc GHG emissions, at similar cost’: (5)

“The results of this work show that despite advantages for electrification of transport there are also significant environmental and infrastructure challenges. In particular, the analysis suggests that we will achieve more GHG reduction faster and at less cost if we drive towards a mix of electrification and low carbon, clean fuel.”  (6)

COP24 ‘Clean Fuels Day’ seemed to have become a little lost in what one delegate called “the “four-dimensional spaghetti” of competing priorities” presented at COP24.(7)

One example of how some delegates frustrations were felt, came from the Saudi Arabian delegation.

‘In a statement, the delegation of Saudi Arabia complained about what it sees as a sharp deviation from the provisions agreed in Paris.’

“Indeed, we are seeing an undue emphasis on energy and particularly oil, with efforts to impose excessive and unrealistic taxes on hydrocarbon fuels,” the statement reads.

“To fully deliver on the Paris Agreement, we must first accept that the shift to low-emission economies will take time. We must make ample and reliable energy supplies available for the long transition in order to ensure an orderly change,” it also says. (8)

Although it is abundantly evident that we can have & do have a future liquid fuels system available for our global transportation systems, is enough being done to invest in the technologies all vying for capital to show & share their emissions solving innovations? Dolphin N2 have been working tirelessly to ensure their CryoPower split cycle diesel engine is embraced by a global audience as an innovative transportation & energy production/storage solution.

“A growing sore spot for developing countries was the setting of a new climate finance goal. The Paris Agreement says this should be set by 2025 and go above the $100bn per year “floor” promised to developing countries by 2020. In the end, parties agreed to start discussing this new goal at COP26 in November 2020.”

Germany, The World Bank, France, Italy, Japan, Norway, the EU & the UK all pledged to add billions to the green economic investment programmes.

“Meanwhile, five other banks – ING, BBVA, BNP Paribas, Société Générale and Standard Chartered – with a combined loan book of €2.4tn committed to measuring the climate alignment of their lending portfolios with the aim of steering them towards the “well below 2C” target.” (7)

However, despite the billions of Dollars/Pounds Sterling & Euro’s pledged for investment, there is still some way to go to ensure a fully collaborative vision for the relevant & appropriate level of investments to guarantee emissions are driven down & Co2 levels are dramatically reduced.

Written by Katy-Jane Mason on behalf of Dolphin N2