Young worker looking forward to an energy evolution.

Energy Evolution for Future Generations

Find out how an expanding population may impact the future of energy production.

By David Casey on Oct 23, 2019

According to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the global population -- currently at 7.3 billion people -- is projected to reach 8.5 billion by the year 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050, and 11.2 billion in 2100. This growth represents a profound increase from today’s population, which could place tremendous strain on our planet’s resources.

The future of energy production is impacted by the needs of our expanding population. Employees like me at Shell Catalysts & Technologies will be at the forefront of these important changes -- which means the work we are doing today could play a key role in how the energy industry evolves in the future. It’s an exciting and profound responsibility.

Regional Influences on Global Priorities

Certain regions of the world -- especially countries such as China and India -- may experience dramatic changes as their populations continue to increase and buoy an expanding middle-class citizenry that could rapidly drive up demand for energy-related products.

The rising demand in these parts of the world could only exacerbate the pressing need to reduce air pollution both locally and globally. Governments and businesses at every level of stewardship may determine the rate of change and the scope and depth of energy legislation in their jurisdictions and locales.

As these countries and regions determine their paths forward, it is reasonable to expect that other areas of the world -- especially countries in places like Northwestern Europe -- will continue on their current path toward cleaner energy and decarbonization. Scandinavia, the UK, and Germany have set the pace that other countries and regions may follow. Singapore may also be at the forefront of the transformation to clean energy, along with other select countries. Look at what Costa Rica has accomplished, for instance. Various countries have unique or different reasons for driving energy change within their borders. Regardless of their particular motivations and energy solutions, these changes could collectively transform our industry... and our world.

Environmental Legislation & Energy Transformation

As the population adjusts to the pressures its expanding size places on the planet’s resources, the resulting environmental legislation may propel advances in the specifications of refinery fuels. Refiners could be obliged to repurpose the use of their refineries to comprehensively change product profiles while maximizing the potential of renewables.

Learn more about our Biofuel & Renewable Energy Technologies

As an employee, I appreciate being a part of a brand that values its commitment to helping customers and businesses embrace these changes as seamlessly and responsibly as possible while deriving value from their significant investments. For engineers and CVP integrators (like me), the present and future of energy evolution are full of exciting opportunities and challenges.

For example, one compelling development in energy transformation is the accelerated rate of the electrification of transportation vehicles. This increasing uptake will most likely happen at different rates across the globe. Another significant development in energy could be the rapid rise in demand for chemicals in Asia. This increasing demand will drive change in refineries and value chains.

Consequently, the innovations that will impact my job the most are technologies related to oil and chemicals that optimize carbon capture and storage. As an industry professional, this makes me grateful to be in this position at this point in the energy transition. After all, energy for the approximately 11.2 billion people in the year 2100 starts with us today.

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