Navigating the energy evolution
By Kurt Wachter, Director, Fuel Infrastructure
With the announcement that the UK is to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2030, we are entering a complex period of energy transition which requires careful navigation. As low carbon sources aren’t yet producing enough energy consistently, we cannot simply switch off the old hydro-carbon technology. Kurt Wachter, Director, Fuel Infrastructure, examines this energy evolution and the complexities of the transition period.
Diversifying energy infrastructure
Whether your business is transport, utilities, food manufacture, telecoms, banking, data storage or even renewable energy, to meet ongoing legislation you are likely to need to diversify your energy infrastructure and investment. At a time of transition in the economy as a whole, energy and the use of energy will change whether you are a supplier or a consumer. Many sectors will have a long transition period of using both hydro-carbon and renewable energy sources at the same time as we migrate over. The way you navigate the transition now, could determine your success in the future.
We shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that a green future doesn’t come with risks and liquid fuels like hydrogen or renewables are still potentially hazardous and require appropriate environmental protection measures. An effective transition plan will help you stay one step ahead of your competitors.
Diminishing skill set
As we transition to new energy sources, we will need to continue to maintain an ageing infrastructure of hydro-carbon fuel tanks which require traditional skills such as tank cleaning, together with a knowledge of specialist health and safety. Hydrogen could be a big part of our future energy make-up and as a liquid fuel requires similar skills to today, albeit with differing technology. Increasingly, we are seeing these traditional skills diminishing as young engineers understandably future proof themselves. What will happen if the traditional skills run out before the technology expires?
As the energy market evolves so too does the legislation surrounding it, and not just around new technology. Recognising their age, traditional fuel assets are subject to more and more stringent legislation to prevent contamination, such as the SEPA legislation around containment and bund efficiency. Are you aware of your ongoing legal requirements in both new and old energy technology?
Water is the enemy
As a result of heightened regulatory measures to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and reduce reliance on fossil fuels, the composition of the fuels we use has changed dramatically in recent years, adding ever increasing amounts of non-hydrocarbon elements. When these biofuels come into contact with water, they create a microbial contamination in the tank. Microbial contamination of diesel fuel occurs when water finds its way into a tank as a result of condensation, rainwater penetration or absorption from the air. This kind of contamination not only accelerates tank corrosion, it can block lines and filters and significantly reduce the performance of the fuel itself.
As diesel is commonly used for emergency power generation, the potential for microbial growth exposes data centres, hospitals and the like to considerable operational and reputation risk. Investing in maintenance, inspection and remedial work should now be essential to your operations, especially when you consider microbial induced corrosion can accelerate tank corrosion by as much as 1mm per year, meaning a new steel tank could fail in less than seven years.
Navigating the transition
Whatever sector you are in, the energy transition will change the way you do business in the future. As technology, skills and legislation evolve and we begin to phase out the old and welcome in the new, requirements are changing.
We are all making this transition. Adler and Allan has always been involved in energy, we started in coal and coke, moved to liquid fuels, now our brand reflects the wider evolution to a more diverse energy infrastructure.
To meet evolving environmental demands, Adler and Allan gives customers peace of mind in detecting and identifying the environmental risks posed today and in the future. We have the knowledge and the expertise in-house to maintain your fuel infrastructure for as long as it is required while ensuring you remain compliant as the legislative landscape evolves. We know the pitfalls, such as microbial activity in biofuels, and can advise on adjusted compliance regimes to ensure you remain operational. Partnering with you we will help you navigate the energy transition, keeping your businesses strong, reducing the prospect of litigation, costly fines and bad publicity, while reducing the threat to the environment.