2003-01-19 Energy Solutions for 60% Carbon Reduction

2002-09

Summary

This study was prompted by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution Report No. 22, "Energy - the Changing Climate", and by the U.K. Government Cabinet Office Performance and Innovation Unit (PIU) Energy Review. It adopts the target of a 60 % reduction in UK carbon emissions by 2050. It also recognises that UK and world oil and gas resources are approaching exhaustion. However, exergy analysis has revealed that the UK energy system has two main Thermodynamic Improvement Potentials (TIPs). These are in the heating of buildings, and in road transport, and amount to 26 % of the primary energy consumption. Also, the UK has vast potential resources of renewable energy - especially biomass and wind.

Technology options for energy saving, energy efficiency and renewables are compared directly for carbon saving. Those for energy efficiency include options that address the two main TIPs. A new analysis shows that Thermodynamic Heating from large scale Combined Heat and Power gives fuel and carbon savings of 76 % or more. However, the present CHP QA Criteria do not reward carbon savings correctly, so new criteria are proposed. The findings for heating include Not Micro-CHP or Fuel Cells, fuelled by Hydrogen, but District Heating from CHP, fuelled mainly by gas, with some biomass. Wind turbines could provide electricity for ethanol synthesis, and more heat for District Heating. The findings for road transport include Not Fuel Cells fuelled by Hydrogen, but Hybrid engines fuelled by Ethanol. This last could be home-grown bio-ethanol, ethanol synthesised in a carbon-neutral fashion, and imported ethanol. These findings are based on extensive evidence from Europe, America, and Japan.

The UK energy system in 2050 was modelled with the most effective options, and a Linear Programming method used to find optimum solutions. These suggest that the carbon reduction target could be met, and with scope for flexibility, by varying the amounts of biomass and wind energy. Along with an overall demand reduction of 30 %, the Final to Primary energy fraction could increase from 0.69 at present to around 0.80, and the Renewable to Primary energy fraction from 0.01 at present to around 0.30. Some solutions could even reduce oil and gas consumption below the levels permitted by the carbon target. Such solutions would increase energy security, environmental quality and sustainability, and reduce fuel poverty.

In Part II, the case is developed for a new operating regime in UK energy markets. Having satisfied itself and others that there are energy technology solutions that can meet their carbon emission targets, the Government could invite energy service companies to take up franchises for these markets. These would each have sales of around a billion pounds a year, and be accompanied by Carbon Reduction Obligations, which would directly reflect those of the Government itself. With their knowledge of the field, experience in big projects, and access to low cost, long term financing, these companies could implement energy saving and efficiency, and renewable energy supply options, symmetrically with fossil energy supply - in order to meet their Carbon Reduction Obligations.

Full report and associated resources

A Slide Show of the major findings may be viewed online.

Full study, part 1.Full study, part 1. (359k bytes)
Apendices to part 1.Apendices to part 1. (91.3k bytes)
Tables (portrait)Tables (portrait) (80.5k bytes)
Tables (landscape)Tables (landscape) (58.9k bytes)
FiguresFigures (135k bytes)
2003-01-19 Energy Solutions for 60% Carbon Reduction
A study prompted by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution Report No. 22, "Energy - the Changing Climate", and by the U.K. Government Cabinet Office Performance and Innovation Unit Energy Review.