Optimising energy storage and transport with Fujitsu
We continue to explore how energy companies can maximise transport and storage needs during these changing times.
While our outlined how Fujitsu is enabling digital transformation in the industry and our indicated its broader mission to achieve sustainability, few might consider how many separate avenues exist for energy companies to streamline their business.
The transportation and storage of oil and gas, with its associated costs and fees, is certainly one of the more challenging aspects, particularly as any amended strategy will still need to factor in speed, safety and scheduling predictability while still keeping to the lowest cost possible.
However, this goal, as with so many others already covered, is highly achievable if energy companies follow Fujitsu’s advice.
Assessing the scarcity of storage
Although the quest for greater efficiencies for transport and storage has always existed to a degree, the fluctuating prices of fossil fuels have made it a newly strategic method for mitigating against profit losses.
The current climate has made this difficult: an by Brown Brothers Harriman found that ’ costs had risen 500% (100,000 barrels of crude stored for one month previously cost US$7,000, but, after 20 April, had risen to $55,000).
Such an increase is unlikely to have occurred without an associated demand, strongly indicating that storage space is scarce and unsold product is copious.
This analysis is borne out by , which found a 50 to 100% increase in lease costs for oil tankers in Canada, the Caribbean, the Baltic and Singapore, not to mention a new 50 cents per barrel rate in Cushing, Oklahoma for March - a 150% increase on February’s figure.
Strategic diversity and quantum-inspired computing
Instead of allowing themselves to be buffeted by the caprice of the market, Fujitsu advocates that energy companies take a far more proactive and creative approach which favours strategic diversity and sustainable economics.
After all, a multiplicity of storage options are already available; usage simply needs to be optimised correctly:
“Energy producers employ a variety of transportation modes to transport huge volumes of fuel every day. Which mix offers the safest and most cost-effective transport today? What about next week? Next month?”
Assessing the available options and moving between different varieties of storage (shipping, tanks, terminals, underground, etc) can create arbitrage opportunities which contribute significantly to an overall cost optimisation strategy.
However, in an ever-shifting economic landscape, maintaining a flexible-yet-focused method for managing such efficiencies can be difficult:
“These kinds of logistical problems, involving hundreds or thousands of variables, are among the most difficult mathematical equations to solve [...] they can have quintillions of possible solutions,” Fujitsu states.
“The mathematics needed to find the quickest, most cost-effective allocation is well beyond what the fastest conventional computing systems can provide. There is, however, one technology model perfectly suited to answering these questions: quantum-inspired computing.”
Inspired by the key characteristics of quantum computing, Fujitsu’s Quantum-inspired Digital Annealer solution can evaluate multiple potential options simultaneously and deliver incredibly fast results; is the perfect tool for helping companies solve storage and transport challenges at a time when they are most needed.
Capable of higher performance processing than classical computers, the Digital Annealer can “substantially reduce costs and delays” through analysis and help shape the crucial real-world decision making that is necessary to sustain the modern energy sector.
Hydrogen Map shows 57 projects are operational globally
Currently there are 57 projects operational and a further 58 will be in development by the end of 2021. Construction of another 92 are slated to begin in the next decade.
Western Europe and Asia Pacific, which account for more than 83% of known low-carbon hydrogen projects, are driving growth, but US projects are rising. The US is well positioned to lead the green hydrogen economy due to the abundant, low cost renewable energy sources needed to produce it, such as wind, solar, hydropower and nuclear, according to McKinsey.
A hydrogen production facility being built at the Tabangao refinery in Batangas, Philippines is slated to be the first to generate blue hydrogen, in which hydrogen is produced using fossil-fueled sources but the resulting carbon emissions are captured, stored or reused.
"Low carbon hydrogen and ammonia production is the key to decarbonising the hard-to-decarbonise sectors like transportation, industry and buildings”, said Pillsbury energy partner and Deputy Energy Industry Group leader Elina Teplinsky.
"This map will be a helpful tool for a broad audience of policy makers, industry participants and investors, sustainability analysts, advocates and journalists tracking the development of low-carbon hydrogen projects and encourage dialogue between those parties to further accelerate adoption of this transformational technology."
"With governments and enterprises worldwide increasingly prioritising decarbonisation goals, we are laser-focused on helping clients capitalise on the enormous opportunities that the ongoing energy transition presents,” said partner Sheila Harvey, who serves as firm-wide Energy Industry Group leader at Pillsbury and co-leads the firm’s Hydrogen practice.
Hydrogen practice group co-leader Mona Dajani, who heads Energy & Infrastructure Projects and Renewable Energy teams, said energy demand is driving significant innovation in the hydrogen space.
"Green hydrogen projects, which combine renewable power sources with hydrogen production, are unlocking new possibilities for regions previously constrained by weak grid connections and transmission bottlenecks and marking a crucial step in the development of the green hydrogen business case," she said.
New Australian clean energy storage startup Endua aims to build hydrogen-powered energy storage and deliver sustainable, reliable and affordable power.
Endua is backed by $5 million in funding, technology and industry expertise from CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency; Main Sequence, the deep tech investment fund founded by CSIRO; and Ampol, the country’s largest fuel network.