Digital Transformation, which was just a buzz a few years ago, is now inevitable for any business to sustain. The Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development at “World Summit on Sustainable Development” in South Africa in 2002, was a SOS for all countries. It emphasized 17 Sustainable Goals for peace and prosperity of people and planet.
After two decades, the world is realizing the importance of transitioning to a technology driven world. Since 2002, the world has achieved certain sustainable development goals such as good health and wellbeing, gender equality, quality education, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities and communities, clean water and sanitization, industrial innovations and infrastructure developments, economic growth, strong institutions, partnerships for the goals, zero hunger, and no poverty.
But the world is still struggling to achieve the following goals to the speed and scale desired: Affordable and Clean Energy, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action, Life on Land, and Life Below Water. These goals are directly connected to achieving a Net Zero Future - which is a carbon- free world - by 2050.
Though challenging, the world is moving towards it, with Technology and Digital being the key players for achieving this. It also requires a top to bottom approach, with active participation by the Government, Policymakers, Investors, Corporates, and Individuals.
How technology and digitalization accelerate the journey to a Net Zero World
Any organization and the projects developing around the world have a single objective: to reduce emission, whose major contributor is the Energy Sector comprising of the Oil & Gas Industry and coal-based Power Plants.
In recent times, carbon capturing technology enables organizations to capture, transport, and store CO2 emitted in the industrial processed and from power plants. In this process, known as CCS (Carbon Capturing and Storage), the CO2 captured is stored underground and can be used for oil recovery by injecting the CO2 into the seabed.
Digital methodologies such as Digital Rock combine x-ray imaging with advanced digital analysis to obtain 3D visualization of how CO2 is safely trapped in rocks when injected underground.
CCS will become a component of any Industrial/Infrastructure project in the future and digital tools would help in implementing and monitoring safe storage of the carbon captured underground.
Focus on production of Green Hydrogen
The Energy Sector around the world is excited about Green Hydrogen, which is clean energy. Governments are setting targets to achieve a transition from conventional fuel to such green fuels. This is a step towards the global objective of a Net Zero Future.
Electrolysis is the technology used for the production of hydrogen, but the challenge today is its large-scale production, transportation, and storage. This requires building the infrastructure for hydrogen producing plants, especially to produce green hydrogen, for which we need more renewable energy, localized transportation, and distribution networks.
How Digitalization will help build a strong Green Hydrogen Economy
Big Data and Artificial Intelligence will play a key role in ascertaining the demands for Green Hydrogen. IoT and Digital Twins will facilitate and help in managing energy efficiently. For example, we have the world’s largest Solar Power Farm in India’s Thar Desert where operations and maintenance require human intervention; but which could be a safety hazard for people working in such a challenging environment where the temperature reaches 50oC in the summer months.
Digital Twins can help in building a command control center for mapping the facility through IoT and can analyze the data, prevent catastrophic failures remotely using preventive maintenance techniques. Through IoT and Digital Twins, we can integrate the sources of renewable energies across the country, and using the data analytics, the energy produced from various sources can be utilized for the Hydrogen Plants.
While we continue to build such large renewable energy sources for producing clean fuels such as Green Hydrogen in a larger scale, then the world’s ambition towards Net Zero Future is very possible by 2050. And, whether it is a country, an organization, or an individual that adopts Technology and Digital tools, they will be the first movers to survive the Net Zero Energy Transition. Such adoption and action will also ensure achieving significant milestones in sustainable development goals, which aims to improve the environment and the life of the people on Earth.
- IEA, 2008b. CO2 capture and storage: A Key Abatement Option, IEA/OECD, Paris, France.
- IEA, 2009. Technology roadmap – carbon capture and storage. International Energy Agency, Paris, France.
- IEA/UNIDO, 2011. [Technology roadmap – Carbon capture and storage in industrial applications]. International Energy Agency, Paris, France.
- Mckinsey & Company, 2008. Carbon capture and storage: Assessing the economics.