Emerging sustainable technologies: collaborate to reach carbon neutrality

By ENGIE - 01 December 2020 - 18:12

This publication presents a selection of sustainable emerging technologies, identified by ENGIE Research in 2020, which are considered as likely having a significant impact on the energy transition and the required acceleration towards carbon neutrality. 
Which are the technologies that need a fast scaling up to enable us to reach our carbon neutrality objective by 2050? Which of them can become game-changers for the energy transition thanks to their environmental and societal benefits? 
The document is a call for collaboration on a variety of technologies, with all partners and stakeholders to accelerate towards our common objective of carbon neutrality. 


Dr. Jan Mertens, Directeur scientifique, ENGIE RESEARCH


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.