Shell, one of the world’s largest natural gas and oil companies, is spending large sums of money creating and distributing beautifully produced propaganda aimed at convincing us all that natural gas can provide increasing supplies of clean electricity, clean heat, and clean transportation fuel.
While I have nothing against natural gas as a fuel source or as a raw material, it is not a superfuel. It has supply limitations, it is difficult to transport, and it is difficult to store. Though it is a cleaner fossil fuel than coal under most circumstances, that advantage shrinks as more and more energy must be invested in extraction, transportation, and distribution.
Here is one example of Shell’s natural gas promotion efforts titled How New York is Improving Air Quality and the Health of Citizens with Natural Gas | Urban Visions. One fact that is missing from the video is an acknowledgement that pipeline and storage constraints on harsh winter days can interfere with the reliability of natural gas. When energy demand peaks and loss of those supplies poses the most risk to human health, the price of natural gas can be bid to astronomical levels and some customers must inevitably stop their purchases.
Shell has also begun a discussion about what they have branded as The Stress Nexus. In the below video titled The Stress Nexus: Tackling the Growing Demand for Energy, Food & Water | Innovation Untold, Shell describes the challenge of supplying growing quantities of food, energy and water to a growing world population. The video highlights seven different innovative ways of addressing one or more aspects of the interrelated challenge. Not surprisingly — since several of Shell’s primary products compete directly with actinide-fueled heat and electricity — none of the highlighted innovations use atomic energy as a tool that could all three challenges simultaneously.
Do any of you have any idea how one obtains an invitation to Shell’s Powering Progress Together conferences? I might be a little vain here, but perhaps my efforts on Atomic Insights and the Atomic Show when combined with my professional background could be used to show that I qualify as a “leading thinker from business, government and society.”