Energy Industry

The energy sector is the largest industry in the world and lifeline of all social and economic activity.

In various forms it touches every person on the planet and every aspect of life. We cannot talk about the future without focusing on the future of energy.

And when we look forward to 2020, 2030 and 2050 demand continues to expand as global energy consumption doubles in only a few decades. The accelerated growth in demand must be met with disruptive changes to the energy sector.

There is simply no way to incrementally improve output and meet global expectations for reducing emissions that have a negative impact on the planet’s ecosystems.

Today, the world’s energy production (around 15 tera-watts per year) is fueled by traditional hydrocarbons (coal, oil, and natural gas) and electricity as the most valuable energy carrier.

This mix is expected to continue for the foreseeable future, but what disruptions might emerge to reshape how we look at energy as we double to 30 tera-watts in only a few decades?

What ideas should be included in any conversation about the future of energy?

The Energy focuses on accelerating changes from science, applied engineering and business models that have an impact on energy systems.

In the next thirty years as the industry doubles in size, new ideas are going to shape the future and could become everyday realities based on a few big ideas:
  • Role of carbon pricing schemes
  • Impact of nanoscale materials science and engineering
  • Role of biology in energy production and carbon utilization
  • Energy storage and distributed power generation
  • Role of software and power management systems for ‘smart grids’
  • Evolution of the Hydrocarbon Industry (coal, petroleum and natural gas)
  • Next generation renewables, nuclear, wave, geothermal, and beyond
  • Reducing energy intensity of industrial processes (e.g. chemicals, agriculture, materials manufacturing)
  • Role of venture capital and energy entrepreneurs

Our energy forecasts and roadmaps explore key questions related to:

  • Implications of ‘greening’ hydrocarbons
  • Low-end disruptive potential of distributed power generation and energy storage
  • Expanding the role of natural gas in the 21st century
  • Transforming the 20th century electricity grid
  • Retail distribution of power (‘energy packets’)
  • Biosciences, genetics, proteomics
  • The nanoscale convergence of chemistry, physics and biology