Paving the way to the energy transition
Dedicated to finding cleaner, cheaper and more available sources of energy, Tecpetrol's Energy Transition Unit is running several lines of development at the same time, in the search for ways of mitigating global warming. From injecting funds into tech startups to technical support and changing people’s mindset, here’s an overview of its toolbox.
Global warming is already revealing some of its catastrophic consequences. The increase in the Earth's temperature is undeniably the result of human activity: between 1850 and 2020, the rise recorded in temperature had no correlation at all with the preceding 2,000 years. The diagnosis of the International Energy Agency (IEA) has prompted it to launch an urgent call for action in the so-called energy transition.
The energy transition is humanity’s challenge; how to limit the increase in temperature to 1.5°C by 2050, reducing greenhouse gases and migrating from the use of fossil fuels towards more viable, economical and cleaner alternatives.
Greenhouse gases—carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, among others—make life on Earth possible but cause excessive increases in temperature if they accumulate beyond reasonable levels. It’s estimated that the world population will reach 9.7 billion by 2030, logically translating into greater demand for energy.
More than a solution, a box of tools
To meet the increased demand for energy with more environmentally-friendly alternatives, it’s clear that migrating to other sources has to be an intelligent solution, integrating all available resources and supporting as much by technological development as by governmental regulations.
The toolkit envisaged contains a move toward greater electrification (with an incidence of 22%), using renewable energy sources (21%), carbon capture, and changes in people’s behavior (13%). “If the population on this planet is going to reach 10 billion, this requires individual action,” said Abigail Rozenblit, an Energy Transition Technology Engineer, during the cycle of technical talks organized by Tecpetrol University. The industry is investing significant resources in research to find ways of increasing energy efficiency in its processes.
Using natural gas to produce energy involves CO2 emissions of between 30 and 50% less than other fossil fuels. "Gas is a key player, and not only for the transition," pointed out Marco Tivelli, Chief Technology Officer, in his technical talk. In a scenario of lower emissions, coal and oil will reduce their share, but not gas, so Tecpetrol is being called upon to use the technology that has been developed in this area. “The energy transition is not about declaring war on oil & gas but about working with what we have, making it cleaner and in a gradual way,” completed Rozenblit.
Tecpetrol's Energy Transition Unit, led by Andrea Rocca, focuses on a range of different specializations, including carbon capture & storage, renewable energies (solar, wind), lithium, hydrogen and geothermal.
Although the Unit depends on Tecpetrol, the energy transition process is closely involved in many of the industrial and business aspects of the Techint Group. Jorge Dimópulos is in charge of developing the different verticals while the team works to develop the Techenergy Ventures Fund, and there is also an extensive technical team in charge of providing support to the entire department.
Techenergy Ventures was created in 2020, as an investment fund with the mission of injecting USD 150 million into strategic startups. The results are proving to be fruitful, judging from the follow-up of different development instances, ranging from pilot tests to industrial implementation.