Shell’s Downstream Director John Abbott standing on a podium and speaking over the mic
Shell’s Downstream Director John Abbott stressed the importance of collaboration when attempting to meet the world’s energy challenges

A hundred energy experts gathered to discuss Asia’s energy challenges at Shell’s first Powering Progress Together (PPT) Forum in Singapore.

Shell Downstream Director John Abbott opened the event with a speech outlining how changes in energy use would need to happen in virtually every part of society. “Governments, academics, consumers and companies like Shell will need to work together to meet this enormous challenge,” he said. “With its willingness to collaborate and its track record for forward-thinking, Singapore sets a great example in this field.”

His address was followed by a panel discussion called “Asia’s Cleaner Energy Dilemma”. It discussed how economies could balance the social and economic demands for a better life with those of a healthy planet.

It was moderated by Marc Carrel-Billiard, global senior MD of Accenture Labs, the innovation arm of the global consultancy. The panelists are experts from various energy sectors: Alvin Yeo, Industry Development Director at Singapore’s Energy Market Authority; Visal Leng, President of GE Oil & Gas, Asia Pacific; Koh Kong Meng, HP’s General Manager and Managing Director, Southeast Asia and Korea, and Mark Gainsborough, Shell’s Executive Vice President of New Energies.

Experts from around the region discuss how Asia can balance its increasingly heavy energy needs with lower emissions, while maintaining a reliable energy system.
Panelists of energy experts discussed how economies could balance the social and economic demands for a better life with those of a healthy planet

The panel addressed the dilemma of how to provide clean energy as Asian economies grow and their demand for energy increases. Among the points raised was the need to ensure that energy remains affordable, secure as well as accessible.

Mr Koh highlighted how technological innovations like 3D printing could play a part in a low-carbon future. “Instead of ordering products and parts, you could just print them out at home. This would use less energy as you would not need to transport or manufacture goods.”

However, he added that it might take another two decades for 3D printing to be established. By that time, the technology would be affordable and accessible to everyone.

Gainsborough said there was no silver bullet that could resolve Asia’s energy challenge. “We need to deploy everything in the kit bag,” he said. “If you rely only on battery-operated electric vehicles, for example, you will have to wait a long time. What is needed is as many solutions as possible, working together, whether they be biofuels or hydrogen or carbon capture and storage.”

Carell-Billiard closed the debate by highlighting the importance of education and the need to get young people excited about exploring alternative energy solutions. “They have a strong curiosity and a desire to change and through that, they can rally people and ideas together,” he said.

Delegates experienced The Container of Possibilities, Shell’s effort to imagine what an urban home in Asia could look like in 2050.

Your smart new home in 2050

Container of Possibilities

The Container of Possibilities is a combination of Shell’s imagination and innovation at work, representing what an urban home in Asia could look like in the future.

Inspired by the scenarios created by the Asian student teams in the Imagine the Future contest, Shell worked with partners to transform the inside of a shipping container to demonstrate an urban Asian home of 2050.

This smart home has windows that automatically adjust throughout the day, eliminating the need for blinds or curtains. This feature significantly reduces energy consumption and air-conditioning costs.

All devices and appliances are remotely connected and can be controlled by smartphone, allowing residents to monitor and operate their appliances even while outside their home.

The Container of Possibilities was on show during the 2017 Make the Future Singapore Festival.  It went on tour to Indonesia for the Shell Campus Week Bandung in October 2017, in Singapore during the International Energy Week in October 2017, and in Thailand for Make the Future in January 2018.

In closing Powering Progress Together Asia 2017, Shell Singapore Country Chair, Goh Swee Chen, said: “Shell has long recognised the need to reduce carbon emissions and to stem the problem of air pollution in many parts of Asia. But we also know that more energy is needed to provide a decent quality of life for people, not only in Asia, but across the world.

“That is why we have created platforms like the Powering Progress Together forum and the Make the Future Festivals. We are here to challenge existing assumptions and to find innovative ways to solve problems.”

Powering Progress Together Asia 2018 will be held on March 8 and is part of Make the Future Singapore 2018. This year’s four-day event, from March 8 to 11, features a range of energy ideas that address the global energy challenge: how to meet the energy demands of the future, while producing less carbon dioxide emissions.