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The Energy Transition

The Energy Transition

Dave Waltham

I am a geophysicist with extensive experience in numerical and mathematical modelling of Earth-processes.  My latest research is concerned with how we can repurpose the science and technology of oil and gas exploration to help the transition to a more sustainable future. 

The energy that powered 200 years of global economic progress was stored, by nature, underground in the form of fossil fuels. In future, we will store energy underground artificially (e.g. hydrogen storage) to smooth daily, weekly and seasonal fluctuations in renewable supply and electricity demand. We will also store carbon dioxide underground as it will never be possible to remove all human emissions of greenhouse gases and there’s a limit to how much can be stored in forests, wetlands and other natural carbon-sinks.

Fortunately, the UK’s geology that was ideal for fossil fuel extraction is also ideal for subsurface storage of energy and carbon dioxide.

Natural gas fields, in red, indicating porous reservoirs suitable for storing energy or carbon dioxide. Blue polygons are wind farms.   UK Oil and Gas Authority

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