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Building tall isn’t necessarily better for the environment

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In stating that Building tall isn’t necessarily better for the environment, according to new research, Archinect of 19 August 2021 might be helping the present that is mostly made of an over-built environment. It remains at this conjecture, very commendable of who can predict the future of the human-made environment. In the meantime, let us have a look at what is proposed.

The image above for illustrative purposes is of the WEF.

Building tall isn’t necessarily better for the environment, according to new research

By Niall Patrick Walsh 

Related on Archinect: Morphosis’ Shenzhen skyscraper sets world record with detached core

Vertical living may not be the most environmentally friendly way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment, according to a new study by researchers from the University of ColoradoEdinburgh Napier University, and the University of Cambridge. The study, published in the journal npj Urban Sustainability, suggests that low-rise, high-density cities are more environmentally friendly than their high-rise, high-density counterparts, though both are still more sustainable than low-rise, low-density sprawling suburbs.

The researchers arrived at their conclusion through an analysis of an urban environment’s life cycle GHG emissions (LCGEs), which include both embodied and operational emissions. By feeding 5,000 urban environment simulations into an algorithm, with varying height and densities, researchers concluded that taller urban environments significantly increase LCGEs (+154%), while low-density urban environments significantly increase land use (+142%).

The team determined that dense environments of approximately 6 to 10 stories in height offer the most environmentally friendly balance, emitting approximately 365 tons of carbon dioxide per person less than high-density high-rise alternatives. By including greenhouse emissions created during construction, such as the manufacturing and transportation of materials, the researchers determined that the increased land needed to construct 10-story buildings is offset by the savings in materials needed to construct tall buildings, which often require disproportionately large foundations and structural support.

Related on Archinect: Smog City: The Fight Against Urban Air Pollution

A key finding by the team is that, across all configurations of density and height, the LCGE increases as tallness increases, independent of the amount of land required to house the population. In contrast, the density of buildings has little impact on LCGE; meaning that for all scenarios, low and high-density typologies resulted in similar LCGE results, regardless of height. The findings suggest that low-rise, high-density cities such as Paris, with predominately 5-6 story buildings, offer a more environmentally-friendly model for urban development than high-rise, high-density cities such as New York City or Hong Kong.

“We’ve always been looking at this problem from a building perspective,” says Francesco Pomponi, the study’s lead author and a professor at Edinburgh Napier University. Speaking to Fast Company, Pomponi notes that “if you look at the building perspective and you analyze the footprint, of course a tall building is better. The high-rise building houses more people. But when you start looking at the bigger picture, you realize you cannot put two high-rise buildings as close as you can two low-rise buildings. To build tall, you need heavier structures, chunkier foundations and also, for a lot of good reasons like privacy, ventilation, and daylighting, high-rise buildings need to be further apart.”

Related on Archinect: How SHoP is Re-thinking Skyscraper Design and Transforming New York’s Skyline in the Process

The researchers see their findings as an important factor in the design of future urban environments in Africa and China, which are expected to undergo rapid urbanization throughout this century. In developing their findings, the team hopes to include other interdisciplinary considerations to guide city planning, such as occupant comfort, the urban heat island effect, competing land use, carbon sequestration of green spaces, urban policies, resource consumption, and how urban environments affect crime.

“Each building should not be identical to the next with a very fixed and prescribed height,” Pomponi told Fast Company. “It’s more about having an upper threshold that, unless you’ve got a really, really good reason, it should not be exceeded. This will ensure that over time we get a diverse-built environment that doesn’t trigger the environmental costs of building tall.

Renewables surge in the MENA region

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Oil and Gas posted in its ENERGY TRANSITION section, a snapshot about how Renewables surge in the MENA region as energy transition accelerates. A good question would be that relating to earnings. Would the renewables bring in any revenues, and how would they compare with those of the oil and gas exports.

The image above is for illustrative purposes

Middle East renewables surge as energy transition accelerates

Renewable energy project contract awards in 2021 have eclipsed deals for conventional power plant projects in the Middle East

by Carla Sertin, August 22, 2021

Renewable energy project contract awards in 2021 have eclipsed deals for conventional power plant projects in the Middle East as the region’s energy diversification agenda gathers pace, according to GlobalData’s MEED.

According to the company’s latest report, ‘Middle East Energy Transition’, there were no contract awards for oil-powered or gas-fuelled power stations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in the first half of 2021.  However, in the same period, there a number of renewable energy project contract awards in the region, worth roughly $2.8bn.

From 2017 to 2020, the average value of contract awards for oil – or gas-fuelled power stations in the MENA region was around $4.8bn a year, with $6.2bn of conventional thermal power plant contract awards made in 2020.

Richard Thompson, Editorial Director of GlobalData’s MEED, comments: “The stalling of the development of conventional power generation plants in the region is one consequence of an acceleration of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and to diversify the energy sources away from oil and gas.  Doubts about long-term demand for oil products and growing confidence in the cost effectiveness of renewable energy are also fuelling the region’s energy transition.”

Renewables on the rise

Some $104bn-worth of renewable energy projects are planned, of which roughly $21.5bn are at the contract tendering stage and are likely to lead to contract awards in 2021 and 2022.

Thompson adds: “Of the remaining $82.4bn of planned projects, only around $4.1bn are at an advanced stage of design, with the vast majority, some $78.3bn of projects, still under study. Many of these may not go ahead or could change substantially in scope.”

According to MEED’s report, Saudi’s $18bn renewables projects pipeline offers the best prospects, with some $13bn of renewable energy projects at or close to the tendering stage. The UAE, which far outstrips Saudi Arabia in terms of installed renewable capacity, has only $370m of renewables projects at the bidding stage.

Green hydrogen

The report identifies hydrogen fuel as an important emerging element in the Middle East’s energy landscape. The use of hydrogen fuel in electricity generation emits only water vapour and no carbon dioxide. Moreover, hydrogen can help decarbonise traditional gas-fired power plants.

Thompson notes: “The hype surrounding hydrogen, and in particular green hydrogen, has become increasingly hard to ignore as it dominates industry discussions of oil and gas, renewable energy, mining and climate change. The opportunity to pivot to green hydrogen is particularly strong in the MENA region.”

An estimated $42bn-worth of green hydrogen-related projects are being planned across the MENA region – and project announcements have become increasingly frequent over recent years. These announcements include both high-level memorandums of understanding (MoUs) comprising studies that are expected to lead to concrete project opportunities in the future, and agreements related to a specific project with general details on the type, location and capacity of the planned facilities.

Energy transition

Thompson adds: “Energy transition is now among the highest policy priorities for the Middle East’s oil producers, which have been hard hit by low oil prices since 2015 – a knock that may be exacerbated by the decline in oil demand growth that is predicted by 2040.”

More Emissions from Oil Refineries in the near-term future

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We can expect more emissions from oil refineries in the near-term future, analysis finds. It is by Cell Press and published in Phys.org as well as other media.
Oil refineries are, as we all know, mostly within the US, Chinese and Russian territories but crude oil and gas that were mainly from the MENA region are nowadays explored all over the world. It is consequently not a matter of refining only but of transporting the crudes to the refineries various locations as well as doing with all those stranded assets. Anyway, let us see what is this story is about

The image above is for illustration and is of Arsenal Energy

Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

A global inventory has revealed that CO2 emissions from oil refineries were 1.3 Gigatonnes (Gt) in 2018 and could be as large as 16.5 Gt from 2020 to 2030. Based on the results, the researchers recommend distinct mitigation strategies for refineries in different regions and age groups. The findings appear August 20 in the journal One Earth.

“This study provides a detailed picture of oil refining capacity and CO2 emissions worldwide,” says Dabo Guan of Tsinghua University. “Understanding the past and future development trends of the oil refining industry is crucial for guiding regional and global emissions reduction.”

Climate change is one of the most fundamental challenges facing humanity today, and continuous expansion of fossil-fuel-based energy infrastructure may be one of the key obstacles in achieving the Paris Agreement goals. The oil refining industry plays a crucial role in both the energy supply chain and climate change. The petroleum oil refining industry is the third-largest stationary emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, contributing 6% of all industrial greenhouse gas emissions. In particular, CO2 accounts for approximately 98% of greenhouse gases emitted by petroleum refineries.

In the new study, Guan and his collaborators developed a publicly available global inventory of CO2 emissions from 1,056 oil refineries from 2000 to 2018. CO2 emissions of the refinery industry were about 1.3 Gt in 2018. If all existing and proposed refineries operate as usual, without the adoption of any low-carbon measures, they could emit up to 16.5Gt of CO2 from 2020 to 2030. Based on the findings, the authors recommend mitigation strategies, such as improving refinery efficiency and upgrading heavy oil-processing technologies, which could potentially reduce global cumulative emissions by 10% from 2020 to 2030. The inventory will be updated and improved in the future as more and better data become available.

The study also showed that the average output of global oil refineries gradually increased from 2000 to 2018, in terms of barrels per day. But the results varied by refinery age group. Specifically, the average capacity of young refineries, which are mainly distributed in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, increased significantly from 2000 to 2018, while the average capacity of refineries older than 19 years remained stable. “Given the greater committed emissions brought about by the long remaining operating time of young refineries, there is an urgent need for these refineries to adopt low-carbon technologies to reduce their CO2 emissions,” Guan says. “As for middle-aged and old refineries, improving operational efficiency, eliminating the backward capacity, and speeding up the upgrading of refining configuration are the key means to balance growing demand and reducing CO2 emissions.”


Explore further: Refineries challenge EPA plan to cut emissions


More information: One Earth, Lei et al.: “Adaptive CO2-emission mitigation strategies of global oil refineries in all age groups” www.cell.com/one-earth/fulltex … 2590-3322(21)00410-3  , DOI: 10.1016/j.oneear.2021.07.009

Cutting Emissions Through Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform and Taxation

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Cutting Emissions through Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform and Taxation published on 4 July 2021, by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is, for all intents and purposes, worth re-visiting. Here it is.

Cutting Emissions Through Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform and Taxation

By Jonas KuehlAndrea BassiPhilip GassGeorg Pallaske 

The above image is for illustration and is of the IISD‘s

This report models the climate change mitigation potential of fossil fuel subsidy reform across 32 countries. The results show how much greenhouse gas emissions—both in per cent as well as in absolute terms—countries can save by 2030. In addition, the model also calculates the subsidy savings countries can gain from fossil fuel subsidy reform. Countries can further increase their emission reductions by adding fossil energy taxation as well as the investments of subsidy savings and tax revenue into energy efficiency and renewable energy to the scenario.

Using the Global Subsidies Initiative – Integrated Fiscal Model (GSI-IF model), this report models the impact of fossil fuel subsidy reform (FFSR) on greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions for the following 32 countries: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, the United States, Venezuela, Vietnam, the Netherlands, and Zambia. In total, these 32 countries accounted for 77% of global carbon dioxide emissions, 72% of global GDP, and 72% of the global population in 2019.

The GSI-IF model uses semi-continuous simulations to forecast energy demand and corresponding GHG emissions. It considers the gradual removal of all fossil fuel subsidies to consumers until 2030, a gradual introduction of a 10% fossil energy tax until 2030, and the investment of 30% of both subsidy savings and tax revenues to energy efficiency and renewable energy from 2021, respectively 2026, onwards.

The research finds a simple country average in GHG emission reductions of about 6% by 2030 compared to business as usual, while the data shows that FFSR can reduce as much as 35% of emissions in the countries modelled. Adding emission reductions from the fossil energy tax as well as the investments of parts of the subsidy savings and tax revenues into sustainable energy would almost double the average GHG emission reductions to 11.8% by 2030. Cumulative fiscal savings from FFSR alone by 2030 total close to USD 3 trillion across the countries analyzed, with total cumulative GHG emissions abated from FFSR of 5.4 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) by 2030—equivalent to the annual emissions of about 1,000 coal-fired power plants or 3.8 billion cars. For every tonne of CO2e removed through FFSR alone, governments save about USD 546.47 on average. When considering the resources reallocated via the subsidy swap, governments can increase their emission reductions and still save USD 164 for every tonne of CO2e removed.

Read original: Download publication PDF

Related: Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform Could Reduce CO2 Emissions Equivalent to Those of 1,000 Coal-Fired Power Plants While Saving USD 3 Trillion—New ReportPRESS RELEASEJuly 5, 2021

Key combination for corporates targeting successful sustainability

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Arabian Business posted DeBacker’s thoughts on how the Key combination for corporates targeting successful sustainability breakthroughs are the one and only remaining way out of today’s traumatic times. Here they are.

Key combination for corporates targeting successful sustainability breakthroughs

Through the convergence of technology, capital, and scale-up capabilities, industry incumbents can translate their sustainability visions to reality – ushering in a new chapter of green finance practicality

Philippe DeBacker, managing partner, global practice leader Financial Services, at Arthur D. Little.

As corporates navigate persisting economic difficulties, unlocking growth and creating strategic advantages represents an entirely different sustainability challenge.

While transformational change has traditionally been hindered due to funding restrictions and expensive innovation projects, a new approach can now be pursued with the post-pandemic era approaching.

Through the convergence of technology, capital, and scale-up capabilities, industry incumbents can translate their sustainability visions to reality – ushering in a new chapter of green finance practicality.

Although this scenario may have seemed improbable not long ago, several trends have simultaneously transpired to lay the foundations for green financing breakthroughs.

Governments are engaging in heightened regulatory activity to build resilient economies and investors are prepared to pursue higher-risk green initiatives. Industrial companies are also introducing corporates to potential green technologies, while collaboration activities are broadening ecosystems via new players, partners, and opportunities.

Crucially, this applies to the Middle East, where the required framework and levers for green finance can benefit the wider corporate community and region exponentially. Green financing for sustainability projects increased by 38 percent to reach $6.4 billion in H1 2021 alone, while green finance is projected to create $2 trillion in economic growth and over one million new jobs by 2030.

These statistics certainly highlight the potential accompanying the green finance segment – and there are various innovative green asset and technology financing options available for interested parties to explore. Besides investment funds, project financing, and debt or equity investments, experts and commercial banks can facilitate technology deployments and green project acceleration through several green funding areas.

As corporates strive to achieve transformational change by acquiring capital, harnessing technology, and successful scaling their capabilities, they can do so backed by the following:

  • Sustainable bonds: Climate bonds are viable for mature investors seeking to introduce climate change solutions and projects, increasing available funding for green initiatives while providing positive sustainability benefits. Blue loans can also raise finance for projects within the blue economy, while ESG-linked finance is available and not linked to specific use cases.
  • Asset recycling platforms: As demonstrated courses of action from capital-intensive clean infrastructure, there are multiple asset recycling platform choices for corporates. Capital recycling designates funds toward greener projects, ‘farm down’ entails equity stakes being sold progressively, yield companies produce cash flow and returns through long-term contracts, and special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) raise funding for capital-intensive startups – including $80bn in 2020.
  • Technology financing: Corporates exploring development expenditure (DEVEX) financing can utilise several sources depending on project technology readiness levels (TRLs). These include public funds for early investment and support, government-backed venture funds to complement private venture capital, and SPACs for sizeable technology funding.
  • Asset management: As Shariah investing emerged a decade ago as a desirable asset class, green financing is increasingly attractive capital with promising returns due the the profound change in economic make up, such as electric vehicles promising to overtake carbon fueled cars.

Admittedly, green financing options are bound by demands, aspirations, and conditions per each individual corporate, with eventualities dependent on specific factors. That being said, every corporate seeking sustainability finance can do so having taken note of similar instances in other sectors. In line with this, there are four actions one can take to help drive success:

Create a sustainable ecosystem

With an array of green technology ecosystems continuously welcoming partners specialising in different industries and technologies, corporates should prioritise developing and forming a sustainable ecosystem. This ecosystem should comprise technology, scale, and capital, which will be central to investment objectives coming to fruition.

While large companies already tend to be involved in multiple ecosystems, realising aspirations and achieving maximum value for many others hinges on proactive action in this direction.

Establish a comprehensive business model

No matter their readiness level, all corporates should pursue projects knowing that their assets or technologies becoming commodities starts and ends with a robust business model. Particularly during early development phases, models often have discrepancies in terms of clarity and direction. Therefore, corporates should define the value they are striving to build, identify the most prudent way to create cash flow, and decide where ownership and control will rest.

Deliver on priorities and objectives strategically

For businesses, executing every element of their business model requires a strategic approach. Whether this is done internally, via an external collaborator, or combining the two, successfully meeting targets and progressing requires a strategic roadmap that includes stakeholder alignment and ambition-timeframe balance.

Adapt the corporate governance model

From board to ethical investing, the corporate world is rethinking the way it creates value and governs itself. New oversight committees are formed in global complex companies to ensure consistency across multiple business lines and geographies – and this is something corporates should also pursue.

Backed by the most suitable innovative financing option, corporates have an opportunity to embrace the support available to them and make continuous strides towards sustainable growth breakthroughs.

The above steps will guide companies on their innovation journeys, with technology, capital, and scale-up capabilities simultaneously driving project success and green growth.

Philippe DeBacker, managing partner, global practice leader Financial Services, at Arthur D. Little.