Due to factors such as a growing global population, the demand for power is expected to rise by 50 per cent before 2050.11 Nonetheless, greenhouse emissions still need to fall sharply, necessitating a rapid transition away from fossil fuels as a source of electricity generation and transport fuel.
This can be made possible by leaving remaining fossil fuel reserves untapped and embarking on a rapid uptake of renewables such as wind and solar photovoltaics (PV), allowing these technologies to dominate power generation by 2050. In addition, fuels can be produced from CO2 that is “mined from the air”. In short, solar energy can be used to produce synthetic hydrocarbons from captured CO2 and “green hydrogen”. The latter is produced via solar-driven electrolysis that splits water into oxygen and hydrogen leading to an overall carbon-free fuel production process.12 In parallel, nuclear fusion reactors remain a viable possibility in future decades.