Going, going, green

CodeCarbon tracks AI carbon footprint. Total, LLNL and Stanford release GEOSX CCS simulator. Environmental Partnership launches flare management program. Carbon Disclosure Project’s ‘record’ disclosures. New sustainability standards board to consolidate environmental reporting frameworks. Halliburton’s e-frack. IEA oil and gas methane emissions need urgent action. Linux Foundation ‘software-defined infrastructure for decarbonization’. University of Cambridge, ‘integrate net zero into innovation’. EY/OGCI reports on 2019 emissions. Wolters Kluwer analyzes US carbon tax credits, clarifies CO2 sequestration.

Mila, BCG GAMMA, Haverford College, and Comet.ml have developed a ‘groundbreaking’ open source tool, CodeCarbon to help organizations track their artificial intelligence carbon footprint. CodeCarbon estimates the amount of CO2 produced by executing code to incentivize developers to write more efficient code. The tool also suggests deploying cloud infrastructure in regions that use lower-carbon energy sources.

Total, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and Stanford University have released GEOSX, an open source simulator for large-scale geological carbon dioxide (CO2) storage. The open-source nature of GEOSX will enable transparency, sharing and community support, ‘paving the way’ for large-scale development of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS). GEOSX is the first major outcome of the five-year FC-MAELSTROM research project launched in 2018. More from LLNL.

Note: earlier work on CCS simulation was carried out at the DoE’s Lawrence Berkeley Lab and by the NETL which released ‘CCSI’, an open source CCS simulation toolset, available on Github.

The American Petroleum Institute-backed The Environmental Partnership has launched a flare management program. Parties to the program will leverage best practices to reduce flare volumes, promote the beneficial use of associated gas, and improve flare reliability and efficiency when flaring does occur. Data on flare intensity, a measurement of flare volumes relative to production, will be analyzed and aggregated into TEP’s annual report. More from TEP.

In its annual report for 2020, the Carbon Disclosure Project notes ‘record’ disclosures via its platform, with over 10,000 entities now disclosing data on climate change, water security and deforestation issues. Some 9,600 companies, 50% of global market capitalization, now disclose to CDP, up 70% in the five years since the Paris Agreement.

In response to the IFRS Foundation’s consultation on establishing a new sustainability standards board (SSB), the EU Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) acknowledged that an SSB could succeed in consolidating existing environmental reporting frameworks and would be well placed to maintain sustainability standards. These should include digital representations of sustainability standards using a common XBRL Taxonomy. Read ESMA’s response to the consultation.

Halliburton has delivered a successful electric frack powered from the electric grid. Working for Cimarex Energy in the Permian basin, Halliburton has completed some 340 stages across multiple wells using utility-powered electric frac pumps. Grid-powered fracking is said to be a path to achieving the lowest emissions profile possible compared to both turbines and Tier 4 dual fuel engines. The system is also said to be reliable and requires a lower capital outlay compared to turbines.

A new analysis from the International Energy Agency (IEA) calls on companies, governments and regulators to take urgent action to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. According to the 2021 update of the IEA’s Methane Tracker, oil and gas operations worldwide emitted more than 70 million tonnes of methane into the atmosphere last year, roughly equivalent to the total energy-related CO2 emissions from the entire European Union. Unlike CO2, reducing methane emissions is ‘very cost-effective for oil and gas companies’. The report, Driving Down Methane Leaks from the Oil and Gas Industry: A Regulatory Roadmap and Toolkit can be downloaded from the IEA.

The 2020 Annual Report from the Linux Foundation inclused a chapter on ‘Addressing carbon emissions and climate challenges’ that sees software-defined infrastructure as a ‘great leverage point’ for decarbonization. LF sees a convergence between energy, 5G, cloud and automotive and puts itself at ‘ground-zero’ of ‘commodity’, non-competing software for the future grid. Among LF’s projects is ‘GXF’, a joint venture with Alliander to provide a ‘scalable, technology-agnostic IIoT platform to collect data and monitor, control, and manage smart devices on the grid’.

Amongst the key processes highlighted in the recently-published University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership’s Targeting Net Zero business briefing is the application of technology and digital transformation to ‘integrate the net-zero ambition into existing innovation processes’. This is to be achieved by ‘creating innovation forums and systems to test and scale zero carbon alternatives to current ways of working.

The Oil and Gas Climate Initiative recently published its 2020 performance report, covering 2019 emissions. Reporting data has been audited by EY & Associés which collects and checks data consistency, and guarantees the confidentiality of member companies’ data. An innovative process, applicable to both listed and state-owned national oil companies, aggregates information from reporting companies, most of whom already ensure their data is independently verified. OGCI has worked with EY to develop a verification process for some of its aggregate data. EY’s statement this year covers eight of OGCI’s 12 members.

Wolters Kluwer has just announced its analysis of US tax credits implemented to reduce operators’ carbon footprint. This follows the final IRS guidance on CO2 sequestration, which has only just now been clarified. The late arrival of the regulations has forced the IRS to push back the application date by two years. There are now over 100 carbon capture projects either being planned, built, or in operation in the United States. For more on adjustments that favor the taxpayer, and on hurdles they may encounter visit Wolters Kluwer.

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