Shell CEO Says Conservation Isn't Enough
We're doing it in demonstration projects now, but we still need to see if we can do it on a larger scale. And it will take a decade to test the carbon-capture technology. Then we have to work things out with governments so we can make it [economically] worthwhile, because right now if you capture CO
Even if you can take the CO
Yes, in fact, I believe we're the world's largest distributor of first-generation transport biofuels [which are made primarily from corn and sugar], selling over 3.5 billion liters, mainly in the U.S. and Brazil. But if you start to calculate how to make a real dent in demand, you will get huge competition with food that will push up prices. So that's not a real solution. Our strategy now is to focus on second-generation biofuels, which are made out of the nonfood parts of crops. We've invested in companies that are working to produce ethanol from cellulose and raw materials like wood chips, but the challenge is still to make biofuels cheaper and make production more energy efficient.
And what about hydrogen fuel? Isn't Shell involved in that, too?
We were very early to start with hydrogen—in the mid-'90s—but it's gone slower than we expected at the time. To make it successful, we still need innovation in two industries: We need cars, and we need a system of hydro stations. And even then, you need to find a way to make the hydrogen without emitting a lot of CO
OK, so if all the hype about hydrogen and ethanol is just that, and renewables like solar and wind won't do the trick either, then what is the long, long-run solution?
In order to become a society that produces less CO