(AV17838) Energy Sustainability in a Changing World

(AV17838) Energy Sustainability in a Changing World


it’s a very great pleasure to introduce
my friend dr. Ellen Williams let me tell you a little bit about her
dr. Williams was born in Wisconsin but when she was still young her family
moved to Michigan she earned a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State in
chemistry 1976 and went on to earn a PhD from Caltech also in chemistry 1981 that
is where she and I met because we both worked in the same research group we
were graduate students together after her PhD she went on to join the physics
department at the University of Maryland where she was named distinguished
University professor in 2000 dr. Williams is a member of two very
prestigious National Academies the National Academy
of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Science there have been three
main themes in dr. Williams career the first has been science and she is well
known as a brilliant scientist her fields of specialty have been
statistical mechanics of surfaces electronic materials and nanoscience she
is a master of both experiment and theory her experiment her scientific
work has been recognized by three major national awards one from the Materials
Research Society and two from the American Physical Society she also
founded the University of Maryland’s mer sec which stands for Materials Research
Science and Engineering Center and served as its director for 15 years the
second theme in dr. Williams career has been national defence and security for
many years she has been a member of Jason a select group of independent
academics that provides technical analysis on issues of concern to the
United States government she is an expert on the nuclear arsenal she
currently chairs the National Academies Committee on technical issues for the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty that committee will soon release a major
report in the past she served on the congressional committee to review the
strategic posture of the United States which was chaired by James Schlesinger
the third theme is a new one entered two years ago dr. Williams took a leave
of absence from her position at the University of Maryland to become chief
scientist at BP those of us who knew her as a scientific colleague were very sad
we were very sad to lose her in that capacity but at the same time we were
happy because there is simply no one smarter or better to work on the
extremely important issues of energy and environment please join me in welcoming
dr. Williams well thank you so much Pat for that lovely introduction overwhelmed
and thank you all for coming tonight I’ve been visiting Iowa State today and
I’ve been having a wonderful day visiting some of your research
activities in particular those involving biofuels which has been just a opening
and and quite impressive so today I’m going to talk to you about science in
the energy industry some of the things that I’ve learned since joining BP and
so let me start right out I’d like to start with a little bit of a by topic as
most of you are aware we’re coming up to a two years anniversary of a very sad
and unfortunate event which was the accident in the Gulf of Mexico in which
an oil rig blew up killing more than 10 people and causing a major oil spill I
had been at BP for three months when that happened and I was appalled as was
everybody else in the world but at that time looking around my colleagues at BP
what I realized is that they were even more appalled than I was and in the
aftermath of the spill I was tremendously impressed by bp’s response
at the height of the operation to stop the oil spill and deal with the
environmental consequences BP fielded over 45,000 people on the ground in the
Gulf of Mexico dealing with the incident finally the well was stopped and today
fortunately the the cleanup of the area has been quite successful and things are
in much better shape than we had feared at the time
so some good things came out of the Gulf of Mexico Institute I was fortunate I
was not involved in particular in the in the response but I was called to help
with them setting up a research program following the incident that research
program was called the Gulf of Mexico research initiative and it was set up to
monitor the environmental impacts in the Gulf of Mexico following the spill over
a 10-year period with the intent that as time went on the studies would expand
beyond the immediate impact of the spill but also to include broader issues of
how we can strengthen the environment in the face of human activity in human
impacts because as unfortunate and we hope unrepeatable as that accident was
we know that there will continue to be other sorts of accidents and that human
activity will continue to impact the natural environment so the Gulf of
Mexico research initiative kicked off immediately after the response and since
then it has set up an independent research program and some of the
activities that are listed here there are now eight consortium funded in the
Gulf states looking at various various aspects of environmental remediation and
so we’re looking forward to ten year is a very very productive research that we
hope will make the environment a stronger place so let me then move on
and move into the body of my talk what I was guess so
so what I’d like to do is talk about energy sustainability so I’m gonna start
out by setting the scale of what we think is going on with the evolution of
how we use energy as a human race so this this little cartoon illustrates
some of the aspects of that of that situation so right now in the future in
the present the world’s energy almost exclusively comes from burning fossil
fuels a lot of people don’t recognize that but I’ll show you some statistics
in a moment so to generate electrical power we burn coal and gas to power our
transportation we burn oil and to produce the chemicals that underpin many
of our activities in daily lives plastics polymers and polyesters were
cloths we use oil in the nation of petrochemicals what we’re
facing our issues of energy security these fossil fuels are not uniformly
distributed around the world and issues of concerns about climate change and as
we move into the future we’re also eventually going to start it
maybe towards the end of the century mid mid to end of the century have to start
working worrying about fossil fuel scarcity these fossil fuels are not
infinite resources eventually we’ll use them all up so we’re looking at over the
timescale of the century through mid-century to the end of the century a
transition that we have to weather and understand how to manage from generating
our power exclusively with with fossil fuels to supporting our civilization
with some more renewable and sustainable forms of energy and as we move forward
we can imagine dealing with climate change with things like carbon capture
and storage and the development of alternative energy sources and
eventually we’ll have to completely depend on renewable energy sources
moving from oil to the use of more efficient engines hybrid engines
electric vehicles and increasing use of biofuels and then finally relying
entirely on electricity in biofuels and possibly synthesized fuels and in
petrochemicals moving from exclusive use of oil for many of the chemicals that we
depend on to oil and biopolymers as the base of our chemicals and eventually to
bio bio polymers and artificial chemicals or artificial photosynthesis
to generate the chemicals that we need and I’ll just mention that BP right now
plays heavily in this space BP is a major gas and oil producer we produce
about three percent of the world’s gas and oil use we have activities in carbon
capture and storage we have significant activities in alternative energy
particularly in wind and we have a big activity in biofuel so I’ll be giving
you some examples from those different areas of BP’s energy investments okay so
let me just set the scale here in terms of amounts of energy and it’s very hard
to grasp how big the energy industry is and how large and infrastructure we
depend on to generate the energy that we need for our lives these are
some numbers that demonstrate world energy use they’re expressed in
different types of units the one that you might be most familiar with is watt
hours like the watt hours that appear on your electric bill this T here means a
trillion so this is a hundred and forty thousand trillion watt hours of energy
is used every u every year by the human race so that’s a very big number another
number a number that I’ll be using in the talk a lot is t OE that’s tons of
oil equivalent so this number is twelve billion tons of oil equivalent that’s
how much again energy we use every year an oil equivalent is the amount of
energy that you would get by burning a ton of oil ok so burning a ton of oil
generates a ton oil equivalent of energy so these are very very big numbers and
it’s very hard to make quick changes in how we generate all that energy that
we’re using over here on the right I just show some of the loops sorry am i
going yeah so over here on the right I just show some of the types of fuels
that we’re used to dealing with the fossil fuels coal oil and natural gas
this is the amount of energy included in a kilogram of any of those fuels you can
see that natural gas is quite good oil is not quite as good coal is less good
the alcohols butanol and ethanol have less energy content than oil and then
finally the carbohydrates biomass like sucrose and glucose are lower still okay
so what do we think is going to happen or what’s happening now and what is
likely to happen in the future in terms of the world’s energy use so this is a
plot in terms of tons of oil equivalent of energy usage versus time and the left
it’s broken down between oacd is basically the developed world America
North America Europe and Japan and Australia non-oecd is the developing
world and you can see that right now we’re at the about 12 billion tons of
oil equivalent per here and we project that going into the
future the developing world is pretty much saturated in its need for energy
use continuing population increases individual in the developing world will
be matched by increases in efficiency so we won’t be needing to use much more
energy in the developing world in that in a developed world in the Western
world but in the developing world things are very different the populations are
increasing more rapidly and there’s a significant need to improve quality of
life so you’ve got lots and lots of people in the developing world who have
poor quality of life in the future their quality of life needs to increase and
there is going to be a vast increase in demand for energy and this is a
projection that BP does it’s not a physical request not what’s physically
requirement required by the laws of science it’s just our best estimate of
what is likely to happen based on what we see government policies and human
behavior being like over the next 20 20 years or so so we think that the the
amount of energy and the world is going to being used in the world is going to
increase from 12 billion tons of oil equivalent to about 15 so about a 25%
increase in the next in the next 20 years over on the right we showed a
breakdown of how that corresponds to what types of energy we what sources of
energy are being used so we see oil gas coal nuclear energy hydro energy use of
water flowing over dams and then renewables right now are such a tiny
fraction of the total energy mix so renewables being wind solar biofuels
geothermal and a variety of other types of renewable energy a very very small
maybe two or three percent fraction of the total moving into the future we
think oil use is going to be relatively flat it’s not going to increase gas is
going to increase a lot coal is going to increase a lot nuclear will increase a
bit read a hydro will increase a bit renewables will increase a lot compared
to where they’re starting but starting from a various
all basis they’ll still be less than 10% of the total energy mixed by 2030 so
that’s our projection based on present behaviors and trends okay so what does
that mean in terms of climate change and co2 emissions which is one of the
drivers that we see in place to change our future energy mix so it’s useful to
pay attention to where co2 emissions or greenhouse gases come from the plot this
is 2005 data the plot on the Left shows all the sources of greenhouse gas
emissions in 2005 the total was 44 billion tons of co2 equivalent so most
of the greenhouse gas emissions came from the production of energy that’s
this orange part of the curve here some of that came from land-use and
deforestation some of it came from agriculture some from other sources but
about 60 percent or maybe as much as two-thirds of the greenhouse gas
emissions come from the production of energy now let’s look at that 60 percent
that comes from the production of energy and see how that breaks down in terms of
different types of energy use so of that 60 percent over here shown in green 40
percent is due to the generation of electricity burning coal and natural gas
to produce electricity produces 40% of the energy co2 emissions another 20
percent comes from burning oil for transport and then we also have the use
of coal and gas in industry heating of buildings is a big one and then there’s
a variety of other sources so one thing that you can see is you look at this
plot is that if you think about transport and changing transport into
the use of electric vehicles if you change transport into electric vehicles
right now you’ll just transfer your co2 emissions from oil to coal and gas and
so you really need to think about cleaning up your electricity production
if you’re interested in saving co2 emissions by electrifying transport okay
so in terms of climate change and in terms
of co2 emissions what would make the world what would be better the goal that
climate scientists have put in place for preventing more than 2 degrees of
temperature increase during this century is to have the world’s climate
stabilized at a concentration of two 450 parts per million of co2 and this curve
shows what it would take to get down to that level between now and 2035 so the
upper part of the curve shows what is likely to happen in the scenario of the
future energy use that I showed you if we want to get down to 450 some things
will have to change the biggest and easiest thing to change is energy
efficiency if we improve the energy efficiency with which we use energy and
there’s lots of ways to do that we can make a huge transformation and a
reduction in our greenhouse gas emissions beyond that improvement in
energy efficiency things get more difficult we need to have more rapid
development of alternative energies more development of biofuels more use of
nuclear which is becoming increasingly problematic given the problems following
Fukushima and then finally in this scenario the use of carbon capture and
storage some way of taking co2 out of the atmosphere is is perceived as
important to reaching these goals so that is what it would take to get to a
carbon kind of a carbon balance scenario where the atmosphere is is preserved and
if we look at what that means in terms of the future energy mix so here I’m
showing a breakdown of again the different types of energy shown in three
different scenarios business-as-usual is what we’re doing right now new policies
is the BP projection which shows it by 2030 or 2035 will have roughly equal
amounts of coal oil and gas and then a mixture of the other sources and then
this 450 scenario that you see here which would allow us to stabilize by the
end of the century still requires us to continue using a fair amount of coal a
fair model a fair amount of gas much more nuclear
and a much more other renewables as shown over here to meet our future so
the lesson here is that even if we’re very concerned about climate change and
if we’re very concerned about stabilizing and moving towards the
future to make that transformation we still need to keep using fossil fuels
we’re going to keep using fossil fuels through at least 2050 even if we have
the most optimistic scenario about what we’re going to do to transition to our
future of alternative energies so what I’d like to do now is talk to you a
little bit about science in the context of that future of that future scenario
so we’re looking at a future scenario where over the next 20 to 40 years we’re
still using oil and at the same time we’re developing alternative sources of
energy so I’m going to tell you a little bit about some oil production issues and
then I’ll tell you a little bit about some biofuels issues okay so one of the
things that we do scientifically in the oil and gas industry is simply finding
the sources of oil and gas oil and gas is hidden under the surface of the earth
when you drill a well to go down and find that oil and gas it’s very
expensive you need to know in advance that there’s a good chance you’re going
to find some oil and gas when you get down there the technique that we’d use
to find the oil and gas is called seismograph II and basically the what we
do in seismograph II is above the surface of the earth either above water
or on the surface of the earth we put some thumpers in place and we create
sound waves that propagate down under the surface of the earth and they
propagate down for miles and that’s underneath the surface of the earth the
geological structure is stratified into layers of different types of rock with
different types of density and at each lever the sound waves can bounce off and
be detected by a string of detectors of sound detectors you have all kinds of
bouncing reflections coming off these different layers until you can find deep
under the earth special areas where oil gas or water is trapped and by the
different type of signature as you get in this acoustic seismological detection
you can discriminate where the oil and gas is it’s a very hard and very
challenging field you can imagine that this is very complicated to look at what
you’re picking up on these sensors and figure out what was down there that
caused the signal that you’re observing and in fact BP owns one of the world’s
largest high-performance computers which it uses to analyze these types of data
okay so we we use seismology to find areas where we expect to find oil and
gas we also use seismology to characterize the subsurface areas that
we might like to use to store car co2 under the earth so one of the solutions
to climate change is the idea that you take co2 you liquefy it you pump it deep
under the earth pardon me deep under the earth into a reservoir under the earth
and then you cap your well and you hope that the co2 will stay there what we’re
looking for in a place that’s good to store co2 is an area under the earth
that’s porous enough to accept the co2 but above that region there’s a layer of
rock that’s very impermeable to co2 and we can do that with seismology find
areas like that and find places that we can we can store co2 under the earth and
be confident it will stay there for centuries and maybe millennia okay so
let me talk a little bit about getting oil out of those reservoirs once we
found them or putting co2 into those reservoirs once we found them this is a
little picture that illustrates the way we really go about getting oil out of a
reservoir you’ve all seen movies where somebody drills an oil well and the oil
comes gushing out and it’s wonderful everybody’s drenched with oil and
they’re very happy that’s actually not how it works these days we’re very
careful not to have the oil come gushing out although I think people are still
very happy but that surge of oil happens because the oil under the earth is under
pressure and once you started pump taking some of the oil out of the up
from underneath the earth the pressure dies away just like you’re letting air
out of a balloon and the oil stops coming out so spontaneously so what the
oil industry does in that case is to drill a second well and out of
this will with the oil as time goes on you also get not only oil you generally
get a mixture of oil gas briny water salty water and often a lot of co2 and
so what we’ll do is take drill a second well here take the brining water or the
co2 move it over to the second well pump it down into the area where the where
the oil is trapped and push through the water say to drive more oil out of that
reservoir it’s called water flooding or co2 flooding and the average industry
recovery factor for getting oil out of a reservoir is only about thirty five
percent so if you’re interested in getting more oil out from the ground or
preserving our our oil supplies for the future the easiest and best thing you
could do would be to get more of that oil out of the reservoirs that we’ve
already found the relatively easy ones so what can we do to do a better job of
getting the oil that we’ve already found out of the rocks where it’s trapped okay
the first thing we need to understand is that a reservoir is a pretty complicated
arrangement when I joined BP I needed i evilly thought that a reservoir was a
big hollow under the ground with like a little lake of oil in it but it turns
out it’s not like that at all a reservoir is like a piece of rock that
would look like any kind of piece of rock you might pick up by the side of a
hiking trail but in the Rock there’s a certain a number of pore density and the
little pores and holes in Iraq might be 1/10 of a millimeter in diameter or even
smaller and this is actually an experimental image of a piece of rock
from a reservoir we’ve imaged this using a special
scientific technique called computed tomography it’s like a like a CT scan
that you might get from the doctor and it shows us all the pore structure in
the rock so in fact the oil that we’re getting out of a reservoir is trapped in
these little tiny pores inside Iraq and we need to understand a lot about how
the oil propagates through the rock and sticks on the rock to understand what
we’re doing when we get oil out of a reservoir so here’s an experiment
showing some of our investigations of what it takes to get oil out of the rock
so I mentioned earlier that typically we take the briny water from down below the
earth and use it to flood the oil out of the rock
that’s called a high salinity rot water flood this is a cross-section of the
piece of rock where we’ve actually done that we’ve taken the rock driven high pi
salty water through the rock and now we can image the pore structure in Iraq and
we can see in blue areas where water is trapped and in black where there’s still
oil left trapped in the rock so you can see a lot of oil still left trapped in
the rock a few years ago or maybe about ten years ago folks in BP started
experimenting with changing how salty the water was and amazingly they
discovered if we lower the salt concentration in the water and do the
same experiment we would start to get a lot more of the oil out of the rock a
big surprise this is an experimental image showing much less oil left after
we’ve pushed a little low salt level water through the rock so this is called
a low sale process that we’re now using in some of our and some of our
exploration fields but we still don’t understand very well why it is that this
works and so there’s a huge scientific opportunity here if we can understand
better what it is about the interaction of salt water and oil and the rock
surfaces then we can do a better job at getting even more out of the oil out of
the rock in the future so this just illustrates some of the the issues that
we’re looking at we think that the issue with the oil and the salty water is that
oil in general is non-poor and you wouldn’t expect it to be very
responsible responsive to salt density but some oil molecules have polar groups
on them and we think that they’re binding to the rock surface and that the
level of salinity is changing how well they bind to the surface that’s similar
to issues that we deal with when we’re thinking about putting co2 under the
surface and having it stick in the rock the co2 can also stick in the pores and
interact with the surfaces of the rock so we have a big research program going
on internal to BP and a some univ partners and universities using all
types of surface science techniques to measure the properties the rock surfaces
and the chemistry of how oil and different types of
chemicals interact with those rock surfaces so that we can get do a better
job of enhancing oil recovery for the future okay so that’s my oil example of
science in the energy industry and now I’m going to change pace altogether I’m
going to talk a little bit about biofuels so BP entered the biofuels
industry in a big way about seven or eight years ago we’re funding big
research programs in biofuels and biofuels are of interest as a renewable
source of energy as a low-carbon source of energy and as a source of energy that
provides us a lot of energy security because we can produce the energy
locally within our country and this graph just illustrates why we see
biofuels as a low-carbon source of energy when we burn gasoline all the
carbon that’s present in the oil molecules gets released as co2 with
biofuels such as ethanol we’ve started with a process of growing a plant and
when we grow a plant the plant uses the process of photosynthesis and in
photosynthesis it takes co2 out of the air it takes energy from sunlight it
takes water and causes a reaction to form to form carbohydrates molecules
containing carbon hydrogen oxygen so farmers of course do this all the time
growing crops and when you’re growing crops with agriculture I use some
fertilizer use some tractors so you use some energy to grow your crops and when
you’re using energy to grow some crops you generate some co2 because you’re
using energy and then you do some processing and you create your biofuels
most likely ethanol by a fermentation process now you’ve got ethanol c2h5oh
and when you burn it you get some energy back so your net energy is your
combustion energy minus the energy that you use to produce the biofuels and when
you combust it you also release some co2 and so you release this co2 and you have
the co2 you released up here but every molecule of co2 that you release when
you the ethanol originally came out of the
air when you grew the plant in the first place so this co2 is free and the amount
of co2 you release with a biofuel is only the co2 that was released in the
processing so you wind up with a much much lower amount of co2 released per
energy gained with biofuels than you do if you’re burning gasoline or if you’re
burning natural gas or coal so it’s a low-carbon fuel and obviously what you’d
like to do with biofuels is to find a way of producing biofuels that uses the
less least processed energy and releases a smallest amount of co2 in its use to
get the best bang for your box okay and most of you here are quite familiar with
biofuels there’s different types of biofuels commonly in the United States
we use corn to create biofuels corn is an annual crop and it takes a fair
amount of fertilization and because of the fertilizer and some heavy duty
processing the Delta II for corn is about 75% so we wind up using a quite a
lot of energy per the amount of energy that would get out of the ethanol that
we generate from corn another type of crop that’s typically used to create
biofuels in Brazil is sugar sugarcane is a perennial crop it uses less fertilizer
less intensive agriculture so typically the delta-e the amount of energy that
you use up making ethanol from sugarcane is about 50% so it’s a little bit better
than corn we’re very interested in a third type of biofuels which is called a
second generation biofuel and this type of biofuel doesn’t use just the food
part of the crop but of the plant but it uses all of the plant it uses the stalk
the leaves the stem all the woody parts of the plant that allows you to get a
lot more biomass per acre than if you’re just using the food part of the crop so
it’s a really good idea to do lignocellulosic plants to create
biofuels and the type of plants that you might be looking at would be well first
of all you might use just the Stover the leaves in the stalks
corne or you might go a special crops such as Miscanthus or switchgrass or
even trees such as poplar to generate the lignocellulosic biomass to create
biofuels now if this was easy we’d already be doing it but it turns out
it’s not easy and the reason it’s not easy is basically the same reason that
we don’t eat wood woods not in a very digestible form so corn and sugar yield
sugars that are very easy for yeast to ferment into ethanol lignocellulosic
woody plants don’t have plain sugars in them they have a nasty polymer called
lignin and they also have nicer polymers that are polymers of sugars many sugars
linked together called cellulose and hemicellulose the lignin basically we
can burn to create energy from but it’s not breakable into sugars but the
cellulose and hemicellulose polymers can be broken down to create sugars which we
can then ferment so to develop a second generation or lignocellulosic biomass in
an economic way into sugars which we can then ferment to turn into ethanol so
let’s see what that takes so typically what we do with this woody type of plant
is we do an acid pretreatment to kind of break up the plant and pull out the
cellulose and hemicellulose and then we use some enzymes to break the Hemi
cellulose down to a sugar it breaks down into a sugar called xylose and we take
this cellulose and it breaks down into a sugar called cellobiose and that sugar
can then be broken down even further to a form of glucose and glucose is what we
kind of like because glucose is the sugar that the normal yeast we use for
fermentation to make ethanol uses so we can just take the same old yeast that we
use today to ferment corn or sugar into alcohol and we can ferment this glucose
and we can make ethanol however that leaves us with all of our xylose unused
and so we’re not doing a very effective gut job of using all of
available biomass so we’d like to use this xylose as well so people have
thought about this and they’ve gone about and used the tools of genetic
biology to change the yeast and so the basic idea is pretty straightforward
let’s just change our yeast and add to it a new capability will allow it to
transport the xylose through its cell wall into its interior we’ll add a
metabolic chain and the interior so now the yeast can metabolize both the xylose
and the glucose and that sounds like a great idea now we have a yeast it’s
going to use all of our products all of our sugars from the from the LC biomass
and when you try that out it works but not very well so what happens is that if
you look here at the amount of glucose and the amount of zidle is present as a
function of time what you find is that the yeast metabolizes the glucose first
it’s sugar it’s yummy it’s delicious it eats the glucose first and only after
all the glucose is gone does it go to the second-best silos and begin to
metabolize that so then you’re like your xylose starts to metabolize but it’s
very slow takes a long time and you basically wind up not getting much yield
okay so what’s the problem here the problem here is that we’re thinking a
little bit in the box we’re thinking about well we know about yeasts that eat
glucose and so this problem was brought by a BP scientist – a young scientist an
assistant professor at university of illinois who was a brilliant young guy
and he looked at the problem and he thought out of the box you know we look
at this and we say oh what’s the problem here we want to eat the suit glucose
that we want to eat this silos this young assistant professor says you’re
thinking about this the wrong way forget the glucose let’s go for the cellobiose
instead and that was a completely new way of thinking we were all thinking
glucose because we’re used to yeast to eat glucose he said no let’s do
something completely different so he did a different modification he got rid of
the glucose path and he added a cellobiose path to the east okay so
here’s what he did he got rid of the glucose past instead he modified the
yeast to have cellobiose past now it can eat the
cellobiose metabolism Sylla bios and put out ethanol at the same time it’s still
got its xylose pathway as it did before and when you try out this yeast lo and
behold if you look at the amount of cellobiose and the amount of xylose
that’s left outside the yeast as a function of time the yeast eats up the
cellobiose the red curve and the xylose at pretty much the same rate and
produces ethanol much more quickly and saturates at a much higher quantity of
ethanol so this is a huge breakthrough it’s the difference between a
non-economic process and an economic process and so this young guy assistant
professor came up with a wonderful solution published it in the open
literature and BP has now taken this and we’re working in our laboratories to
turn it into a commercially viable prior process that we hope in the future to
put into our processing plants to create ethanol from lignocellulosic biomass so
I think that’s a great example of basic science working with industrial
applications to come up with new processes that you wouldn’t have thought
of otherwise okay all right so now I’m going to switch topics for a third time
and I’m going to tell you about a broader topic of energy sustainability
that I’ve been working on for the last year or so after I joined BP and this
has to do with the broader topic of energy sustainability so I talked to you
earlier in my presentation about climate change and co2 being released when we
burn energy and when we were in fossil fuels
now climate change is not the only problem facing the world we right now
are at a population of seven billion people we expect it by the middle of the
century that there’ll be nine or ten billion people and all these people on
the earth are putting pressure on the earth’s resources we need land to grow
food for people to have food to eat we need water to to irrigate the land we
need water for people to eat to drink and we need water for industrial
processes and we just need to worry generally about the effects of all these
people on the environment and so I began a study several years ago
to look at the impact of the constraints of Natural Resources water and land
specifically in a relationship to energy well what we wanted to know is given
constraints on the amount of energy and the amount of land available in the
world will we still be able to meet the world’s energy needs in the future
and it wasn’t clear to me what the answer would be when we began this study
let me start by just showing you kind of generically where the energy and the
world goes this actually shows California but it’s it’s typical for the
rest of the world so this is a plot that’s called a Sankey diagram and what
it is it’s a plot showing the use of energy from its origins through to the
final customers so in the state of California
most of their energy comes in in the form of imports some of their energy is
produced in state in the form of oil and natural gas of the imported energy some
of it is oil some of it is natural gas some of it electric electricity
generated by nuclear or burning coal in other parts of the world as you move
across to the right we see what happens to that energy we do some refining to
change the oil into gasoline we do some electricity generation to turn the
natural gas in the coal into electricity and then we transport those different
forms of energy say gasoline goes to diesel engines petrol engines
electricity goes to electric motors to natural gas burners to electric heaters
and so on and then when we move to the people what the uses of the energy are
cars trucks furnaces and a little trouble reading from an angle here from
heaters and appliances and then to the actual uses transport here’s a whole
bunch of industrial applications different types of human use and then
the final actual uses of these of these forms of energy in an interesting
perspective in terms of our sustainability question was what’s the
relationship between energy use water and land as you can see right
there and right there water services the amount of energy that’s used to treat
water for us to drink for us to use in irrigation and to treat our wastewater
is a pretty small fraction of the total energy and the amount of entered energy
that’s used for land services ploughing transport farming is also a pretty small
fraction of the of the energy so that insight and a lot of work to quantify
different uses of energy and different uses of water and land has allowed us to
come up with this picture so this is a picture where we’ve put energy in the
middle and we’ve looked at its relationship to the atmosphere to the
use of different types of minerals to the use of water into the use of land so
here energy has a very big connection in the burning of hydrocarbons to impact on
the atmosphere however when it comes to water we already saw that a relatively
small amount of Lea small amount of energy is used in the treatment of water
and we’ve also found that a relatively small amount of the world’s water is
used in the production of energy about 2% is used to get fossil fuels out of
the ground and about 9% is used in the generation of electricity most of the
world’s water is used as irrigation in agriculture land use deforestation has a
big impact on climate most of the world’s land is used either for
ecosystems or for farming and then materials relate strongly to land use
and less strongly to energy so as we look at this plot we can see that energy
is a relatively small player in terms of impact on water and land and ultimately
as a result of the study we’ve reached the conclusion that energy itself in
terms of the constraints on water and land is not going to be significantly
constrained water and land limitations will still allow us to produce the
energy that we needed to the future but that of course is not the whole story
because these resources is an average picture over the entire
world these are sources aren’t uniformly distributed especially not water and so
here’s a picture that shows you the issues that the world is facing with
respect to water this is something called the water scarcity index it
represents what fraction of the available water in a local area is being
used by human beings for their uses and if you use less than about 10 percent of
your local water there’s not much stress but if you go up to 20 or 40 percent of
your local water you’re really starting to stress the environment and so the
among the the level of stress is a function both of rainfall and of local
population and you can see that there’s vast areas of the world China northern
India the western part of the United States where we already have significant
water stress human populations are drawing down the available water very
rapidly and that’s only going to get more extreme as there’s more more people
in the earth and so there’s lots of places on earth where there’s plenty of
water but there’s also lots of places on the earth where there’s not plenty of
water and we were going to have to deal with those regional variations as we
move into the future ok so for us as a business understanding this interaction
between water and the local regions is going to be very important and so we’ve
developed two tools to help us understand water and land use and their
Sankey diagrams like the energy Sankey diagram I showed you before this is a
water Sankey diagram again for California mostly we’re using California
because they have really good records and it’s a good test case for us so this
shows again water used from the source through to the end customer in
California some of the water comes from the Colorado River it’s transported
across state and it mostly goes to the production of agriculture there’s a lot
of surface water use some groundwater use and as we move across the the the
page here we go through distribution moving the water around treatment
cleaning it up so it’s appropriate for our you
and here we have energy used in preening up water for domestic and human use very
little energy is used in treating water for agriculture most of the water still
just flows through on unperturbed and deals with the ecosystems quite a lot is
used in agriculture and smaller amounts are used in in human use and so the
energy impacts on water are here in cleaning it up initially for use and
there in cleaning it up before we release it into the sewage system we can
do the same thing for land use and this is very important especially for
understanding what types of land is going to be available in the future for
biofuels and so then this again is California on the Left we show the types
of land that are present in California ranging from forests down to what’s
called here shrub land but that gets pretty close to high desert and as we
move from left to right this is land area we can see temperate forests pretty
much remains as forest savanna gets broken up largely into cropland and some
of it is left as wilderness as we move from left to right we see the cropland
being broken up into different types of crop the savanna goes to grazing land
forests Aizaz forest and at this point in the plot we make a transition up to
here we’re showing land area on the right hand side we’re now going to show
land productivity and land productivity can be measured in terms of the lands
potential to take co2 out of the atmosphere and do things with it via
photosynthesis so here for the for the open shrub lander which is pretty much
high desert you can see we go from land area that’s big to productivity which is
relatively small that desert land doesn’t have a lot of capability to grow
plants and uptake co2 from the atmosphere our forest goes from a
relatively small land area to a fairly large and impressive co2 productivity
and you can see that the the crops are also very productive and picking up co2
so this shows all of our allocations in use of land as we move
across now through the production of food the production of feed we lose
quite a bit of co2 productivity through waste and burning things and then
ultimately the co2 winds up locked in the forests in the food and and some of
it goes out of the state in terms of exports so this gives us a good picture
of how the land productivity evolves and we can link this picture with the water
picture and the water picture with the energy picture and get a good
understanding for any given region where we’ve got the data about how all these
things play together and what the impacts of different choices and
different decisions about what we do with the land the water and the energy
will make so for BP here’s the location of some of our businesses shown with the
blue dots different types of businesses and this is a graph that shows one
projection of how water availability may change in the next 50 years some areas
are going to have increasing water scarcity some areas are going to have
more water we and BP are going to have to deal with the variability the changes
in the water availability and the impacts as responsible corporate
citizens and to preserve our ability to operate in these areas and the world as
a whole is going to have to deal with these issues as we move forward into the
future so that’s a quick summary showing different perspectives on energy
sustainability and science and the energy industry and
kind of a summing up of everything I’ve been talking about today is this is this
graphic which shows what we have to work with energy land in water we’d like to
do that without trashing our world’s ecosystems and without having our
climate go out of control on us we have some real important agendas that we have
to deal with economic growth climate change local security and we have all
the drivers of change that we have to address as we come forward with our
solutions in the future we’ve got population change societal changes poor
countries increasing their standards of living we have limits on our natural
resources I as a scientist also see and many of
you as scientists see technical innovation our hard work in figuring out
new ways to generate energy and to deal with our environment is crucial in our
ability to move forward successfully into the future so I really appreciate
your attention and I’m happy to answer questions I think if you have questions could you
go to the microphone in the back so that everyone can hear your question please I would like to ask why BP overlooked
safety as an important part of their technology development it seems to me
the horizon did not have to happen if proper safety measures would have been
you slowed down and didn’t get too fast with this development let the people on
the rig make decisions it did not have to happen it was a criminal act by BP the the the issues in the BP liability
are under adjudication and I’m not allowed to talk about those things I
will say that right now bp’s technology is placing a very strong emphasis on
safety a trillion dollars may be appropriate
Gami Juicin and so the question has to do with the
quality of cleanliness in burning coal there’s a huge effort in making more
efficient coal burning clamp plants which right away is a is a big big gain
in efficiency in and and cleanliness if you get more energy for smaller amounts
of coal you gain in every way so there’s lots of possible events as in
inefficiency in coal plants we do face the fact that we have a big
infrastructure of old coal plants that are quite inefficient it’s going to take
time for those to be decommissioned and replaced with more efficient plants and
then the other issue is increasing environmental regulations to clean up
the emissions from the from the coal plants which are increasingly put in
place in the United States and we’re starting to see in China in other
countries that as they face very severe air pollution issues they’re also
starting to put in place requirements to clean up pollutants other than co2 that
that are problems from coal plants like mercury next question okay I think we’ve
got folks in the back here here is BP currently researching or in tender
research any of the waste to energy potential specifically municipal solid
wastes or sewage sludge –is to energy we’re aware of those of those
initiatives it’s not very it’s not well aligned with bp’s business practices so
we’re following and it’s called scanning and paying attention to those
developments but it’s not an investment that BP itself is going to make now that
you’re developing technology to break down the lignin and the cellulose I can
see parts of the world they’re wanting a lot of energy such as India and China
South America they also have huge biomass reservoirs in the rain forests
so I can see a continuing destruction of the rainforest how is this going to be
handled on a global scale yeah the the issue of biofuels and
impact on the environment is hugely important
so actually in Brazil they’ve done a pretty good job of putting in place
government regulations that protect and control the type of land that can be
used for biofuels and they have actually despite what people think there’s not a
direct transfer of cutting down of rainforests tikrit biofuels in Brazil
and Brazil they’ve basically required that biofuel production be limited to
existing sugarcane plantations that have become inactive because of declining
economic demand for the product and that’s a really good model of government
intervention what we’re really going to need to have is very serious government
intervention as biofuels development increases to prevent abuses and improper
use of land if things go well you know if there’s good government policy and if
the world sees an increasing use of advanced agricultural standards and
sustainable agricultural standards it would be possible to feed the entire
world population in 2050 with the world’s present level of cropland say
plus or minus 10 percent that’s a big if that’s assuming that in developing
countries Africa and other places where agricultural standards aren’t great
right now that they come up to standards in the West if that happens and if we
can food feed our world population on the existing cropland
then we think that there’s at least 200 million hectares of land available to
biofuels that are degraded land abandoned cropland that could be used
without impacting the forests and that amato land would allow the world to
produce about 20 percent of its transport fuels so I think that’s a
reasonable and sustainable goal and it will only be reached if there’s good
serious government policy to make sure there aren’t abuses thank you very much
for your talk I’m curious about the what is can drive on co2
sequestration by I figured what the technical term is but public and
underground what kind of economic incentives and policies are necessary in
order to make that something that BP or any other entity would undertake yeah so
the the economics of carbon capture and sequestration is a really tough topic I
sometimes make the joke that being asked to pay money to store co2 underground is
a lot like being asked to go on a diet so somebody else can lose weight it’s
just not a very attractive economic situation so carbon capture and storage
is only going to happen we’ve been doing research on it we think we might need to
use it in some places where we might be required to do to store carbon that’s a
co2 that’s co-produced with gas as licensed to operate to get access to the
wells for it to become a broader more widely used process for instance taking
co2 from burning electric plants that’s only going to happen if governments
require it to happen it’s that there’s there’s just a present no economic
incentive that makes it something that people would spontaneously do so my
question is um you said the best are better than corn to produce biofuels as
sugarcane in woody yeah material what would be the like energy and time and
monetary need to like switch over the United States economy from being corn
based as far as agriculture and other other types of food industries and stuff
like that to based on those types of products okay so so if we wanted to
change biofuels ethanol to some other form of ethanol the first thing that has
to happen well first of all it’s it’s likely that it’s not likely that there’s
going to be a switchover it’s more likely there’s going to be a parallel
development and I think the first thing that’s likely to happen that is
happening the use of corn stover the stalks and
leaves to produce ethanol and Dow DuPont is actually got a pilot plant and we’ll
be setting up a commercial plant in the near future
to get started with biofuels we need to have government requirements that
biofuels have to be used because right now they’re not they’re not breakeven in
terms of just allowing people to use gasoline so without government
incentives requiring a certain amount of biofuels in the in our transport mix
people wouldn’t be using or wouldn’t be producing and using biofuels so the
transition from first generation to second generation biofuels simply
requires continuing government regulation requiring certain fractions
of different types of biofuels in the mix that should be enough to make it go
and as as you’ve seen BP is investing in developing lignocellulosic crops you
know DuPont is investing in LC crops there’s tremendous research at lots of
universities including Iowa State so as long as there’s a place for that for
those biofuels to go that development will increase and eventually we’ll get
past the technology development hurdles and biofuels will become economically
competitive with with gasoline yeah I have some observations and a question
here some scientists on Nova 10 or 12 years
ago made this comment that surprised me that the earth gets the equivalent of
four and a half pounds of sunlight per second and on the news within the last
couple of weeks on some program they mentioned that the total energy use on
the earth today is equivalent to one hour of sunlight and the ultimate source
of energy for this planet is sunlight that’s true and you know we’re using we
get 31 million five hundred fifty seven thousand six hundred seconds in a year
multiplied by four and a half that’s a lot of sunlight we need to figure out
some way to use that more effectively and quit burning stuff that pollutes our
atmosphere yes yeah is there any research going on
and trying to develop this of course there’s there’s huge amounts of errs so
let me just comment which following your comment which is of course all of the
fossil fuels that we’re burning in fact are stored sunlight energy they
originated that energy that stored in those fossil fuels was put down by
energy captured from the Sun via photosynthesis so we’re still using
sunlight energy it’s just very old sunlight energy there’s huge amounts of
research of course biofuels are another form of sunlight energy because that’s
direct capture of energy from the Sun transformation into biofuels and then
there’s photovoltaics lots of research on photovoltaics right now they are
still expensive as an energy source compared with coal in terms of
generating electricity and one thing I mentioned in my early slide was
artificial photosynthesis or synthetic fuels and so there’s a lot of research
probably on a 10 to 20 year timeline that’s going on into figuring out ways
to take sunlight and basically do what plants do which is take sunlight co2 and
water and make hydrocarbons or carbohydrates and so that’s one in my
opinion one of the very I don’t know if I should say promising but very exciting
potential sources for our future use of solar energy to meet our energy needs
I met a student here that was doing research in chemistry several years ago
and he was trying to develop a catalyst a wond atomic level catalyst that he can
run water over and get hydrogen and oxygen I don’t know if he had any
success with that but if he did do that then you could get the hydrogen save it
burn it you get water back again and you wouldn’t be polluting with the carbon
dioxide and stuff that’s right yeah I heard you talk about increased
efficiency as a way of as one of the factors in cutting down yeah I didn’t
hear you say anything at all about lifestyle changes how are you including
that and my other question is what do you have to say about the people who
think that we need to get down to 350 and not just down to four
50 okay so lifestyle changes efficiency is part of lifestyle changes we would
like to have efficiency without having an inconvenience us in some cases it
will in some cases it won’t other types of lifestyles changes have to do with
what type of food we eat how much we drive and those are all human choices
driven by government policy and driven by what we think is as civilized people
in terms of people who think we should get down to 350 instead of 450 I have to
say I’m I’m not very optimistic that we’re even going to meet 450 the way the
world is going right now and the rather slow pace of social policy and
decision-making about meeting the needs of reducing co2 emissions I think we’re
more likely to wind up at 500 or 550 so I’m sorry that’s a depressing answer so I’m sorry say that again what incentives drive you as a scientist
further our efficiency than just governmental regulation and to push your
agencies farther in using these technologies than just the economic
incentive pushed old-school by the by the government so I’m not entirely sure
so when government and policies are put into play that which puts the pressure
on the corporations to to increase their productivity abiding by the policies
policies aren’t put into play until the until the technology is there and
obviously you’re making Grand steps in developing this technology so what
drives you as a scientist to do this and provide this for your company yeah and
before the company demands it okay so yeah how how do I as a scientist
encourage BP to look to the long term and so that in fact is my job okay so my
job I’m the chief scientist I’m not the chief technology officer so as a chief
scientist my job is to look to the long-term and make the case within BP
that long-term investment is going to be important and that it’s in our best
interest as a corporation to be prepared to deal with a changing energy future so
making those arguments is my job and I try hard to do it yeah well it turns out that there are
underway huge improvements in internal combustion engines so we can look
forward in the next 20 40 years to internal combustion engines that use
flywheels and other types of advanced technologies so we can really I think
expect to see 60 80 mile per gallon internal combustion engines so that’s a
huge potential for efficiency and transport and then if you couple that
with hybridization where you also use your fly off energy to charge a battery
you can vastly increase transport efficiency even if you don’t go to fully
electric vehicles so I see that as a as a big source of potential efficiencies yeah well there’s there have been
there’s there’s ongoing every year there’s a climate meeting where all the
countries the world get together and discuss what their commitments will be
or won’t be to changing the world’s energy future it’s been through some
real ups and downs at the last meeting I think there was some indication that
some of the countries which had balked at limiting co2 emissions because it
would impede their economic development are starting to think more seriously
about the opportunities that are available to them to moving forward into
alternative energies and the impacts that climate change are likely to have
so we’ll see it may be that there’s a little bit of a hopeful trend and people
slowly moving forward to finding a path to make some of these alternatives work
one last question and then and then I think we have refreshments in the back
of the room before a reception and please stay to
ask further questions of the speaker but there was one more question back here yeah so certainly in biofuels in
especially in sugar cane and lignocellulosic there’s a lot of biomass
waste product that can be recycled back to the fields as fertilizer and some of
it can be recycled back as feed for cattle some of it can be recycled back
to generate electricity to actually run the plant so that’s a nice example of
use of the waste products in a constructive fashion there’s many other
uses as someone mentioned and municipal waste lots of opportunities there for
capturing waste another area that’s largely untapped but I think it’s got a
lot of potential for reducing energy use is a used of waste heat so lots of our
processes generate heat often at a relatively low temperature but there’s
in fact a lot of developing technologies that may help us capture that heat and
use that as a way of recovering more energy please join me in thanking dr.
Williams

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