Smart consumption, smart machines, and smart infrastructure is the future of energy efficiency, according to Hans van der Loo, Vice President of Shell International and head of the company's EU Liaison Office.
Van der Loo was in Bulgaria's capital Sofia on Friday delivering a keynote lecture entitled "The Future of Low-Carbon Transport" on the occasion of the 20th year since the founding of the Atlantic Club in Bulgaria and the 20th year since the entering of Shell on the Bulgarian market.
According to the Shell VP, "smart consumption" means consumers with a thinking that is focused on achieving better energy efficiency; "smart machines" are vehicles designed to save fuel, and emit as little carbon gases as possible, while smart infrastructure is also created in order to boost energy efficiency.
As an example of smart infrastructure, Van der Loo cited intermodal transport terminals combining several types of transport for faster and more efficient transition from one to another in order to save energy, time, and money.
"The solutions are three – smart consumption, smart vehicles, and smart infrastructure. Only the combination of these three factors can improve the overall state of the auto sector," the top Shell executive said, as cited by the Dnevnik daily.
He cited estimates that some 20-30 years will be needed to increase the market share of new forms of energy to 1-2%, and added that there is no point in offering new-generation fuels with reduced carbon output if vehicles using them do not see mass distribution.
In his words, it is very likely that many of today's automobiles might still be in use in 20 years, especially in poorer countries, while airplanes are usually in use for a period of 22 years.
Van der Loo further said that the use of electric cars makes sense only if the electricity that they consume is not produced by coal-fire thermal power plants because otherwise the pollution of the environment will be the same.
He did stress that the greatest challenge for oil companies is to meet the growing global demand for fuel, while simultaneously find ways to reduce the greenhouse emissions.
Van der Loo further said that Shell sees biofuels as one of the good opportunities to protect the environment. He explained that while biofuels of the first generation are produced from agricultural crops, which reduces the production of food, biofuels of the second generation – such as synthetic products – do not.
"If you ask people what they prefer to have – food or biofuel – 97% will say food. The other 3% will wait for three days until they are completely starved, and will then change their mind," the Shell International VP stated.
He also pointed out that 20% of the fuel used by cars goes for transport, while 80% - for heating, and the change of this ratio provides another opportunity for increasing energy efficiency.
According to Shell's estimates, two-thirds of the people on the planet will be living in cities by 2050 compared with about 50% today. Thus, the reduction of greenhouse gases will depend not only on oil companies and car manufacturers but also on the local authorities, Van der Loo said.