Questions to Dr. Jan Mertens, Chief Science Officer, ENGIE Research
Why is it important for ENGIE to publish this document?
ENGIE has the ambition to be a leader in the transition to a carbon neutral world. This challenge is too large to overcome alone as a person/company/sector, we must collaborate. The document has as objective to inspire its reader by raising awareness of new emerging technologies that could make a difference. It is published in this context of collaboration and reaches out a hand to all partners people/companies/sectors that want to take up this challenge together with us in a collaborative manner.
What exactly is the challenge that is mentioned?
The International Energy Agency (IEA, ETP 2020) estimates that about 75 % of the emission reduction effort will have to come from non-mature technologies. This does not mean, that they must be invented from scratch; but rather a fast upscaling of existing technologies in laboratories up to pilots, up to demos and finally into the market is crucial. This document presents some of these technologies that are today not mature and need to be scaled up at an increasingly fast pace to reach the carbon neutral world and limit global warming to 2 degrees as agreed upon during Cop21 in Paris. ENGIE is not only keeping a close eye on their development but has the ambition to help bringing these technologies to the market; through piloting and demonstrating.
What are your selection criteria for technologies to be included?
It is extremely hard to predict next technology breakthroughs but, in this document, we present topical areas that we think will offer non-trivial benefits and impacts on this transition. The selection process is rather organic and is the result of discussions with our research labs but sustainability of the technology is high on our mind in this process. Sustainability implies not only environmental but also social and economic aspects. Finally, what is absolutely certain is that there is not one technology that has the potential to overcome the challenge alone so working on a variety of technologies related to energy production, transport, storage and use is crucial. In this selection process, we avoid thinking whether it will be this or that technology, we know it will be this and that technology but rather focus under which circumstances and local conditions, a technology makes more sense than another.