Energy systems are changing. This is happening at different rates and with varying complexity around the world. The transition is driven by growing energy demand and an urgent need to curb CO2 emissions.

Shell is working to understand these shifting energy landscapes and to seize the right business opportunities. We are looking to explore – and lay foundations for – a range of new energy models. 

We are playing our part in the transition towards a low-carbon future. We aim to cut the net carbon footprint of our energy products – measured in grams of CO2 per megajoule of energy consumed – by around half by 2050. By 2035 we aim to reduce it by around 20%.

This will be achieved through a range of means including providing lower-carbon fuels, supplying natural gas for power and operating more efficiently.

Our New Energies business, set up in 2016 and focusing on new fuels and power, supports this ambition.

Our two core areas

New fuels for transport

Electric car charging at home
Shell recently bought NewMotion, one of the world's leading electric vehicle charging providers

Shell is investing in developing alternative fuels to help meeting rising demand for transport on our way to a low-carbon energy future. This will build on our existing oil products and retail business.

Transport now accounts for more than one-quarter of the world's total energy use, and one-fifth of global energy-related CO2 emissions. The International Energy Agency estimates that the number of cars on the road is likely to double by 2050.

The way we move the world's growing population and goods must be balanced with efforts to reduce emissions to reduce CO2 and local emissions.

Shell is a leader in the development of biofuels, which produce fewer CO2 emissions than petrol over its life cycle. In Brazil, with our joint venture Raízen, we have a facility capable of turning sugar cane waste into fuel.

Raízen already produces one of the lowest-CO2 biofuels available today, ethanol from sugar cane in Brazil.

In Bangalore, India, we have opened a plant showcasing an advanced biofuel process, which turns biomass and waste into fuel that can be put straight into a car, van or truck.

In Germany, we are working with the government and five companies to install a network of around 400 hydrogen fuelling stations (230 Shell-branded) across the country by 2023. The only exhaust emission from hydrogen-fuelled electric vehicles is water.

We are also exploring the electric car market. In 2017, Shell began offering electric vehicle fast-charging at some forecourts in the UK and the Netherlands. Other countries are expected to follow.

Shell Recharge aims to charge vehicles in around 30 minutes, saving time for drivers on the move.

We have also signed an agreement with high-powered charging network operator IONITY to offer faster charge points across 10 European countries.

In 2017 we signed an agreement to acquire NewMotion, one of Europe's largest electric-vehicle charging providers for homes and businesses. This offers customers even greater choice and convenience.

We also offer gas-to-liquid technology (GTL) for transport, which can help lower local emissions, and liquefied natural gas (LNG) for transport, which is emerging as a cleaner fuel to power heavy-duty transport.

Shell now has six LNG-fuelling stations in the Netherlands and are looking to expand across Europe. In 2016, we signed an agreement with Carnival Corporation to supply LNG to fuel two of the world’s largest passenger cruise ships.


Wind turbine
Shell has been active in wind for more than 15 years with projects in Europe and North America

Our approach to providing electricity focuses on meeting the needs of our commercial, industrial and residential customers.

This is bolstered by our activities in power generation, trading and supply, as well as our ability to optimise supply and demand. We are also working to develop low-carbon energy sources such as wind and solar, along with natural gas.

Shell has been active in wind for more than 15 years. Today, we are helping grow the share of renewables in the power generation mix, with six onshore wind power projects in North America and one offshore wind farm in Europe.

In addition, we are part of a consortium that is developing the Borssele windfarm off the Dutch coast, designed to have a capacity of more than 680MW hours a year, enough to power approximately 825,000 Dutch households.

Our previous experience in solar connects to our conventional business. We have invested in a company that is building a one gigawatt solar thermal plant – one of the largest ever – which is designed to help make oil production in Oman less carbon-intensive.

Our approach will include developing solar projects aligned with customer needs. We believe the number of customers choosing solar power will continue to grow. We are working to help meet demand and have, for example, invested in the Singapore-based Sunseap Group.

In 2018 we signed an agreement to acquire an interest in Silicon Ranch Corporation, a leading US developer, owner and operator of solar assets.

At the same time, we are looking to expand the deployment of solar photovoltaic in our own operations. In California in the USA, for instance, we have delivered a photovoltaic project to provide on-site solar power to the Stockton fuels distribution terminal.

This project is expected to produce more than 300,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) each year, reducing the terminal’s electricity costs. Shell is also developing a solar power plant at its Moerdijk chemicals site, with construction planned to begin in 2018. It will provide an approximate peak capacity of 20MW of renewable power.

We are also growing our power trading and marketing business. In the USA, we are already one of the largest wholesale marketers of power. One-third of the generation capacity we manage in the USA is from renewables, including hydro, wind and solar.

In the UK, we have been trading power for a number of years and, from 2018, we will start supplying power to industrial and residential customers.

The amount of electricity supplied by renewable energy varies since it relies on sunny skies or wind. Natural gas is a perfect partner to provide back-up for wind and solar, as storage develops.

We are also developing models to help customers better manage their energy use, while at the same time looking at commercial opportunities to bring power to remote communities.

In 2017, we invested in leading off-grid solar company SolarNow, which sells and installs solar systems and electrical appliances in Uganda and Kenya.

We also invested in SteamaCo, a technology company which remotely operates hundreds of distributed energy systems across Africa.

In early 2018, we jointly invested in Husk Power Systems, a leading rural distributed utility company operating mini-grids in Asia and Africa.

A young businessman using digital table
Shell's innovations such as Farepilot are a response to digitalisation that is changing the way we live

Digital connectivity

Alongside our two core areas, we are exploring how digital technologies can best support our approach and help improve customers’ lives.

With two-thirds of the world’s population expected to live in cities by 2050, we have been working to better understand urbanisation and how to improve city life by harnessing digital technology.

In recent years, a new set of customers has appeared: self-employed drivers in search of passengers. In response, we have developed an app, called FarePilot, that helps them identify high demand areas.

This is already being used in the UK, helping drivers swiftly find their next fare and potentially saving them fuel that would have been expended driving around.

In the USA, the Fitcar™ app, which is under trial, will transform a regular car into a "connected car" that can provide maintenance alerts and information on the engine, as well as the location of nearby services.

Meanwhile, through our innovation arm, Shell Technology Ventures, we have invested in "tiramizoo", a German start-up whose online technology connects retailers with customers.

Mark Gainsborough

Mark Gainsborough

Mark Gainsborough heads up Shell’s New Energies business. He has spent over 30 years in the energy business, working in marketing, sales, supply chain, trading and strategy roles. 

He helped to develop Shell’s strategy in alternative energies and to make investments in a range of biofuels technologies. He was responsible for Shell’s participation in the creation of the Raízen joint venture in Brazil, which is now the world’s largest producer of sugar-cane ethanol. 

With a Master’s degree in Environmental Policy, Gainsborough has experience with a variety of environmental and sustainability issues.

Read his latest thoughts on LinkedIn

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