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Lower-carbon technologies

Mirrors creating steam in Amal, Oman (photo)
GlassPoint’s solar technology uses
mirrors in a greenhouse to create steam
that is used for enhanced oil recovery.
Amal, Oman.

Two of the most important challenges facing the world are the growing demand for energy and the need to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. We want to be at the forefront of new energy solutions, such as developing selected alternative and renewable energy options as well as making existing types of energy cleaner. We have dedicated teams within Shell that look at these areas.

Renewable energy production

In renewable energy production we increased our investment in GlassPoint Solar in 2014 – a California-based company that has been supported by STV. This investment will accelerate the deployment of GlassPoint’s solar-powered steam generators for enhanced oil recovery. The technology uses moving mirrors to capture solar energy and generate steam. It can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 80% by using the sun as a source rather than gas.

Joe Powell (photo)

Internal opinion

Joe Powell leads research in chemical engineering and process development. This includes programmes related to specialist chemicals, renewable energy, carbon capture and storage and enhanced oil recovery. His work has resulted in more than 50 patents and several industry awards.

“One of my roles as Chief Scientist is to assess the feasibility of new ideas and technologies. We not only evaluate the business potential of the idea or technology but also its environmental and social impact. For a project or technology to be feasible, it has to compare favourably with alternative energy options, especially with regard to CO2 emissions and water consumption.

My own field of advanced biofuels illustrates this approach: the first generation of biofuels are made from edible crops, such as maize or sugar cane, while advanced biofuels are more efficient and sustainable. Our research and investments in advanced biofuel technologies are enabling us to find ways to produce lower-carbon fuels from crop residues such as corn stalks and bagasse as well as from biomass.”

Joe Powell
Shell Chief Scientist, Houston, Texas, USA

Wind energy

STV has invested in 2-B Energy, a renewable energy company, to support its two-blade turbine wind technology and reduce the cost of offshore wind power. Shell has also been developing wind power for more than a decade and is involved in 10 wind power projects in Europe and North America.

Distributed energy and energy storage

Another area of STV investment is in small-scale distributed energy systems such as energy storage, system integration and micro generation. In 2014, STV invested in Aquion Energy, a company that specialises in energy storage. Aquion Energy has developed a battery storage system that can store solar power for use at night when a plant is not operating.

Hydrogen transport

In alternative transport energy, we signed an agreement in 2014 with our partners to create H2M, a hydrogen mobility joint venture (Shell interest 27.6%) with Air Liquide, Daimler, Linde, OMV and Total, to expand Germany’s hydrogen refuelling network from 17 to 400 stations by 2023.

We are also seeking to increase our hydrogen refuelling networks across California, the Netherlands and the UK. Since 2012, Shell has been conducting trials on the use of electric vehicles with commercial fleet customers in Germany, the UK and USA.


Our biofuels business supports the development of advanced biofuels. (See “Biofuels”).