Shell Announces New developments in Biofuels, Wind, Solar and HydrogenThursday, February 02, 2006
Royal Dutch Shell plc provided an update of its activities in alternative energy including Biofuels, Wind, Solar and Hydrogen. Shell has now invested over US$1 billion in alternative energies, making it one of the world’s leading companies in the sector.
“In Shell, we aim to develop at least one alternative energy such as wind, hydrogen or advanced solar technology, into a substantial business,” commented Shell CEO Jeroen van der Veer. “In addition, we continue our efforts to further expand our position as the largest marketer of Biofuels. The actions announced today are consistent with this long-term vision.”
Shell has an established position as the world’s largest marketer of Biofuels, as well as a leading developer of advanced Biofuels technologies. Biofuels are fuels derived from biomass such as plant crops like oil seed, or plant wastes like straw. They can be used either pure or blended with standard automotive fuels dispensed at today's filling stations with the potential for much lower CO2 emissions.
In partnership with Iogen of Canada, cellulose ethanol Biofuels are being successfully produced from plant waste. By producing Biofuels from plant waste instead of food crops, the potential stress on the food chain is alleviated. The Iogen process produces a fuel which can be used in today's cars, cutting CO2 lifecycle emissions by 90% compared with conventional fuels. Shell recently announced a Memorandum of Understanding with Volkswagen and Iogen to explore the economic feasibility of producing cellulose ethanol in Germany. Shell Canada has been working with Iogen to develop a viable commercial framework for a facility in Canada.
These projects complement Shell’s existing partnership with CHOREN Industries of Germany. CHOREN have a patented Biomass-gasification process that converts biomass - such as woodchips - into ultra-clean synthetic gas that can then be converted for use in diesel through Shell’s Gas- to-Liquids technology. CHOREN is preparing construction for the world’s first commercial biomass-to-liquids facility in Freiberg, Germany.
Wind is currently one of the most promising sources of renewable energy. Shell’s share of wind energy capacity is currently greater than 350MW, and is expected to reach approximately 500MW in 2007. Included in this growth is the first Dutch offshore wind project, the 108MW Offshore Windpark Egmond aan Zee (Shell share: 50%). Full construction will begin on this project in March 2006, and first electricity production is expected around the end of the year. Progress has also been made with the development of the London Array offshore project in the UK (Shell share: 33.3%). This project has a potential capacity of 1,000MW, making it one of the world’s largest planned wind farms.
In the United States, Shell is already one of the largest wind energy developers, and is actively progressing projects in Texas, Wyoming, Idaho, West Virginia, California, and Hawaii. Shell recently acquired the development rights to Mount Storm, a 300MW wind park (Shell share: 50%) in West Virginia – potentially one of the largest new projects in the USA. Progress has also been made in permitting the 200MW Cotterel Mountain wind project (Shell share: 50%) in Idaho.
Shell also announced a Memorandum of Understanding outlining plans to explore the potential for wind energy developments in China in partnership with Guohua Energy Investment Corporation of the China Shenhua Group, a leading national energy supplier.
In the area of Solar energy, Shell has been progressing the next generation of technologies, including CIS ‘thin-film’. Shell believes that non-silicon based technologies such as CIS are more likely to become competitive with retail electricity in the coming years. Shell’s CIS technology is supported by four years of manufacturing and marketing experience. The technology recently achieved a 13.5% world record efficiency for thin-film products, and is supported by International Electrotechnical Commission certification.
Shell announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Saint-Gobain, one of the world’s leading producers of glass and other building materials, to further explore the Shell CIS technology and consider joint development. Saint-Gobain’s expertise in glass processing and building material manufacturing provides an excellent fit for joint exploration of this technology.
In light of this focus on CIS ‘thin film’ technology, Shell decided to divest its crystalline silicon solar business activities to SolarWorld AG. Shell’s silicon-based business has an annual production of approximately 80MW. Manufacturing facilities, sales and marketing, and silicon research and development activities in Germany and the United States (Washington state and California) will transfer to SolarWorld, including all 579 staff currently involved in silicon PV.
Shell will continue to provide solar energy to the developing world, and has signed a Letter of Intent with Good Energies Inc. with a view to further expanding the business.
Finally, Shell today announced that it will be opening at least two new Hydrogen stations in the U.S.A. in 2006, supporting continued efforts to demonstrate the viability of a future Hydrogen economy. Shell is also active in this area in Asia, and is supporting the recently announced Hydrogen station at Tongji University in Shanghai. Shell Hydrogen continues to take a leading role in joint government/industry discussions and partnerships to plan and develop hydrogen and fuel cell activities, including the EU Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Technology Platform, the California Fuel Cell Partnership and the Japan Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Demonstration Project.