Earlier this month, Saudi Arabian Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid A. Al-Falih and Russian Energy Minister Alexander V. Novak signed an agreement to cooperate in the oil and gas sector with the hopes of deploying newfound technologies. According to the statement made at the G20 Summit, “The Ministers committed to explore the possibility of creating a joint database on advanced energy technologies, along with feasibility assessments of their deployment, utilization, and financing through sovereign funds of both countries” (1). The agreement was signed at the G20 Summit, a congregation of the world’s 20 major economies, with the initial goal of stabilizing crude oil prices and containing volatility in the market. The two countries are aiming to ensure steady investment in the oil industry, and to continuously gather information for new developments. They plan on working with members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in order to raise the level of technology applications to the sector as a whole.
One of the developments that Russian scientists have been thoroughly studying is the potential for generating fuel through harnessing photosynthesis in plants. Researchers at the Timiryazev Institute of Plant Physiology at the Russian Academy of Sciences recently discovered a catalyst that splits water into oxygen and hydrogen, allowing them to produce artificial photosynthesis in a lab. Pavel Voronin, head of the laboratory of global photosynthesis ecology at the Institute of Plant Physiology, stated “The catalyst will break water down into oxygen and hydrogen and we shall start to make renewable energy. When it can be done on an industrial scale, it will revolutionize the Earth’s energy sector because the Sun is a natural and inexhaustible source of energy” (2). The beauty of photosynthesis is that it directly converts light into energy at a conversion ratio of around 90 percent. The hope is that cars will eventually not run on gasoline but on liquid hydrogen, with a single filling lasting as much as 3,000 kilometers. Although it will take some time for the breakthrough to develop into practical implementation, it shows Russia’s commitment to end the Earth’s dependence on fossil fuels.
Saudi Arabia’s leading contribution to the database involves a goal to make solar-power a fundamental solution for countries around the globe. The cost of utility-scale solar installations has dropped dramatically while the prices of oil have continued their instability (while trending towards becoming more expensive). The plan is to install 9.5 gigawatts of renewable energy under the direction of its Vision 2030 program. This will target 14 percent of the country’s current generating capacity, which is a deceivingly significant portion of the Middle Eastern giant. With the cost of building solar power plants on a decline, it looks as though the plan would provide affordable power for industry and homes. Following the Saudis’ initial intervention into the solar-push, Dubai awarded a contract for a 200-megawatt solar plant almost a year ago. Saudi Arabia’s long-term goal is to match its exportation of oil as an equally vast supplier of solar energy.
While Russia and Saudi Arabia are the world’s two largest suppliers of oil, they strive to aid the global cause of creating sustainable renewable energy sources. The energy database would not only keep a constant flow of advancements in the global conversation, but it would encourage other world powers to generate their own technologies and contribute to the mission. The point is to support engineering, manufacturing, and research activities in order to funnel the world’s oil usage into a more stable and environmentally-conscious realm. With the two leaders of the oil industry heading the charge to push the energy conversation in a new direction, renewable energy sources will be generated at a far more efficient pace.
(1) "Russia, Saudi Arabia May Create Database for Promising Energy Technologies." Russia Beyond The Headlines. N.p., 05 Sept. 2016. Web. 28 Sept. 2016.
(2) Ter-Ghazaryan, Aram. "New Technology Might End the World's Dependence on Oil." Russia Beyond The Headlines. N.p., 13 Apr. 2016. Web. 28 Sept. 2016.
(3) Dipaola, Anthony. "Saudi Arabia to Revive Its Solar Power Program at Smaller Scale." Bloomberg.com. Bloomberg, n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2016.
(4) "Russia and Saudi Arabia Are Talking Oil Market Stability: Report." CNBC. CNBC, 15 Aug. 2016. Web. 29 Sept. 2016
Image: © Olgavolodina | Dreamstime.com - Moscow, Russia - May 28.2015. Moscow Agricultural Academy of Timiryazev
Carlos was born in Chicago, Illinois and came to USC to study psychology with a minor in Business Administration. He has worked in healthcare and finance for the past two summers. Carlos also helped co-found Trojan Marketing Group, a group that develops marketing strategies for large companies. Carlos has been with Global Intelligence Trust since summer of 2016. He am most interested in writing about innovation in the technology sector and aerospace developments. Apart from academics, Carlos enjoys playing volleyball, hiking, and traveling.