Decarbonization hinges on revolutionary new technologies. To meet aggressive climate goals, substantial investments are urgently needed from both governments and the private sector. COP 28 offered a crucial platform for global innovators and investors to showcase their potential and forge alliances that drive tangible decarbonization advancements across all industries, including the critical challenge of transitioning the oil and gas sector.
A Hub for Innovation
At COP 28, the Technology and Innovation hub shone as a beacon of progress. It brought together global technology providers and experts, fostering a vibrant exchange of expertise and showcasing cutting-edge innovations in fields like AI and quantum computing, all driving urgent climate action. Beyond introductions, the hub hosted dynamic discussions on building robust climate-tech ecosystems, empowering players to thrive. Panels explored how incentives and policies can propel energy innovation, rewarding successful research that paves the way for a future powered by cleaner, more affordable technologies. The summit’s unwavering focus: accelerating development and cutting costs, ensuring these promising solutions reach their full potential in the fight against climate change.
Technological Participations and Discussions
In the “Innovation Zone” companies such as Emerson, Trane Technologies, Siemens Energy, Tencent, and others had the chance to introduce some of their latest innovative solutions for decarbonization. This is in addition to the participation of about 100 technological startups in the “Green Zone” to showcase their innovations that aim to support the decarbonization process within the different industries.
During COP 28’s “New Climate Solutions: A Conversation with Innovators” panel, led by David Livingston (Senior Advisor and Managing Director for Energy, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate), a crucial point emerged: the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that 35% of the emissions reductions required for net zero will hinge on breakthroughs in new technologies.
Livingston highlighted the need to commercialize the new technologies. “Goldenman Sachs says that the inflation reduction act alone is going to lead to $4 trillion in clean tech investment mobilized and that it is the single largest boost to the global clean energy transition in world history,” he said.
David Vili, the Founder and CEO of Solar Space, explained that his company’s technologies are using optical mirrors/telescopes to concentrate the solar light, which reaches over thousand degrees Celsius then this is collected by another technology, then converted into sound waves, which can be converted into electrical power for cooling at high efficiencies. He added that this technology enables them to evaporate the freezing water without leaving brine, using chemicals, or using filters noting that it is three times cheaper than any other technology.
For his part Douglas McDonald, Vice President of New Nuclear Power, General Electric, highlighted that his company’s technology, the boiling water reactor (BWRx-300), is used for generating nuclear power at low cost and free of carbon.
A session titled “Addressing Emissions in Oil and Gas: A Net Zero Imperative New” addressed the critical challenge of decarbonizing the oil and gas industry, a crucial step in the world’s fight against climate change. Lorenzo Simonelli, Chief Executive Officer of Baker Hughes, took center stage, emphasizing the immense potential of technology in guiding oil and gas operations towards a lower-carbon future. He aptly stated: “We [Baker Hughes] enable through technology the roadmap towards a lower carbon economy.”
COP 28 included the Sustainable Innovative Forum which presented several panels. During, one of the sessions entitled “Accelerating industry decarbonization through the adoption of sustainable infrastructure mechanisms”, Rana Ghoneim, Chief Energy Systems and Decarbonization at UNIDO, stated that there are technologies that need to be commercialized. “Technology that we have there are really more in sort of pre-commercial stages [like] hydrogen, CCUS, and others [which] really need quite a big push now to move to full commercialization and at the same time we need to bring in new innovative technologies that could help with the decarbonization post 2030.”
Also, Takajiro Ishikawa, President & CEO of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America, talked about the challenges that face the technologies’ implementation including the needed regulations for carbon emissions and financing issues, highlighting the need for increasing carbon capture and hydrogen adoption at low costs.
A session entitled “The Future is Green: Innovations making low-carbon hydrogen competitive” as part of the Hydrogen Transition Summit 2023 was held during COP 28, where Mani Sarathy, Professor at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, emphasized the need to use the available technologies to support the electrolyzes industry such as applications of the latest technologies for diagnostics, imaging, measurements, sensing, AI, and high performance of computing.
Furthermore, Dr. Harpeet Gulati, SVP, Head of PI System & Green Software of AVEVA underlined the crucial role of the digital twin technology in connecting the demand of technologies with the supply and anticipate any changes very quickly. He said that we need to focus on all the technologies and scale them quickly by looking at the entire value chain as well as expect any problems, noting that this can be done by the digital twin.
COP 28 wasn’t just another climate conference; it was a catalyst for unlocking new pathways to a decarbonized future. The focus on technology stood out, with discussions and innovations paving the way for commercializing solutions and propelling the fight against climate change.