The role of the cloud in reducing global emissions

Global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have increased tenfold in the last century – 90 per cent since the 1970s. One of the most significant, but avoidable, causes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emission is gas flaring. International efforts to limit the global temperature rise, such as the COP21 Paris Agreement, the World Bank’s Zero Routing Flaring by 2030 initiative and CO2 emissions trading schemes like the European Union (EU) ETS are putting companies under more pressure to reduce flaring operations through higher taxation and increased regulation.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Global greenhouse gas #emissions have increased tenfold in the last century” hashtags=”GreenTech, Cloud”]

Building a holistic picture of flaring

It may seem surprising that around half of plants flaring gas in the chemicals and oil and gas industries simply estimate their emissions. By measuring pipe size and guessing the flow rate, companies are submitting estimates with an uncertainty of up to 20 per cent.

Historically, measurement processes have been entirely manual, involving large workforces visiting flaring sites to take physical measurements. In addition to being a significant cost, a manual process increases risk faced by engineers by placing them in hostile locations.

Developments in gas flow measurement, particularly ultrasonic technology, have transformed this from a largely labour intensive and inaccurate process. Today flare gas measurement can be as accurate as 1 per cent and measurements can be logged remotely on an ongoing basis, reducing the need for human intervention. Businesses are now looking to the cloud to further automate the process and to deliver critical insight that can reduce taxation and increase revenues.

Cloud automation

The most forward thinking operators are creating national operations centres by providing connectivity between flare sites. When flare gas is accurately measured, for example by an ultrasonic flow meter installed on a pipe, emissions data can be fed directly into a cloud-based Continuous Emissions Monitoring Systems (CEMS) to give a company access to precise and real-time information on the amount of gas it is flaring.

Declining absolute caps of the EU ETS mean that flaring natural resources in industry should only take place when absolutely necessary. Using cloud-based CEMS to track long-term flaring volumes over a company’s whole operation will give it insight into how close it is to reaching its CO2 emission cap. In 2020, EU ETS emissions caps will be 21 per cent lower than in 2005. By 2030, they will be 43 per cent lower. With such substantial decreases, every cubic metre counts.

Flaring information can be presented on a dashboard for executives to review in real-time, showing how each site, process, manager, state, or country is performing. A connected, fully automated process enables remote reporting and adjustments, increases safety, reduces workforce and gives a company much greater visibility into site best practice. This enables a business to reduce workforce costs, increase employee safety, reduce carbon tax obligations and provides significant environmental benefits.

Working smarter with cloud

Companies will need the accuracy provided by measurement technology and cloud connectivity to maintain revenue while implementing reduction schemes. Cloud technologies help drive ROI across whole operations during implementation of new schemes to reduce emissions, by building a better picture of trends over time.

For example in a plant where flaring only happens during maintenance procedures, accurate real-time data can enable the flaring process to be managed more effectively – reducing both the amount of wasted gas and taxation paid. With insight into trends over time, the plant will be able to more accurately predict flaring volumes and work out the viability of gas capture technology. This enables a cost (taxation) to be turned into revenue (natural gas sales).

[easy-tweet tweet=”Over the next ten years, the #cloud will become central to limiting global temperature rises” hashtags=”GreenTech”]

Cloud technology is enabling almost every industry in the world to work more effectively and efficiently. Over the next ten years it will become central to limiting global temperature rises. High-emission industries like chemicals and oil and gas will need drive cloud adoption, harnessing its speed, flexibility and collaboration capabilities to drive new insight from flaring data and better emissions management.

+ posts


Related articles

Don’t lose sight of SAP on Cloud operational excellence

Digital transformation projects can often become complex with twists and turns, which can lead organisations to focus solely on the migration itself.

Need to reduce software TCO? Focus on people

Investing in software is undoubtedly important for enterprises to stay ahead. However, the process is rarely a simple task for CIOs and IT leaders.

The future of cloud and edge optimisation

As more enterprises use multi-cloud and hybrid infrastructures, the danger of cost overruns and loss of control increases.

Here is how to stage a public cloud migration

As the relationships between CSPs and cloud providers are deepening, CSPs need to develop a clear strategy on how they add value to customer relationships.

The future of work is collaborative

As hybrid work models continue to gain traction, businesses will need to start implementing collaborative tools and processes to meet the needs and expectations of the upcoming workforce, seamlessly integrating them into existing workflows to enhance productivity and performance. Innovations in technology, including AI and machine learning, mean that organisations are in a better position than ever to shape the collaborative future of work – and with the right support in place, they can ensure that these digital tools continue to bring out the best in their workforce for years to come.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Subscribe to our Newsletter