13 May 2011, 14:00 h, Sheraton Hotel, Sofia
On 13 May 2011, at 14:00 h, at the Sheraton Hotel, in Sofia, Hans Van der Loo, Vice President of Shell International and Head of the company’s EU Liaison Office, delivered a keynote lecture entitled “The Future of Low-Carbon Transport”, on the occasion of the 20th year since the foundation of The Atlantic Club in Bulgaria and the 20th year since the entering of Shell on the Bulgarian market.
According to the Shell VP, smart consumption, smart machines and smart infrastructure was the future of energy efficiency. Van der Loo descrobed “smart consumption” as consumers with a thinking that was focused on achieving better energy efficiency, “smart machines” as vehicles designed to save fuel and emit as little carbon gases as possible, and “smart infrastructure” as also created in order to boost energy efficiency. As an example of smart infrastructure, Van der Loo cited intermodal transport terminals combining several types of transport for faster and more efficient transition from one to another in order to save energy, time and money.
In his words, it was very likely that many of today’s automobiles might still be in use in 20 years, especially in poorer countries, while airplanes were usually in use for a period of 22 years. Van der Loo further said that the use of electric cars made sense only if the electricity that they consumed was not produced by coal-fire thermal power plants, because otherwise the pollution of the environment would be the same. He stressed that the greatest challenge for oil companies was to meet the growing global demand for fuel, while simultaneously finding ways to reduce the greenhouse emissions.
Van der Loo stated that Shell saw biofuels as one of the good opportunities to protect the environment. He explained that while biofuels of the first generation were produced from agricultural crops, which reduced the production of food, biofuels of the second generation, such as synthetic products, did not. “If you ask people what they prefer to have – food or biofuel – 97% will say food. The other 3% will wait for three days until they are completely starved, and will then change their mind,” the Shell International VP stated. He also pointed out that 20% of the fuel used by cars went for transport, while 80% – for heating, and the change of this ratio provided another opportunity for increasing energy efficiency.
According to Shell’s estimates, two-thirds of the people on the planet would be living in cities by 2050, compared with about 50% today. Thus, the reduction of greenhouse gases would depend not only on oil companies and car manufacturers but also on the local authorities, Van der Loo said.