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DNV – using data sharing to support decarbonisation for clean growth

Fri Mar 26, 2021
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Case study on DNV, recipient of the ODI’s R&D data access stimulus fund, using data sharing to support decarbonisation for clean growth

Summary

This project explores the role data can play in the investment, initiation, execution and operation of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), and hydrogen projects.

DNV is an independent expert in risk management and quality assurance in the oil and gas, and renewable energy industry. DNV used the stimulus fund to explore how sustainable data driven business models can help the UK achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, using data sharing to support decarbonisation for clean growth.

In 2020–21, we set up a stimulus fund as part of the fourth year of the ODI’s R&D programme – funded by Innovate UK – and our broader programme of work on data institutions. The fund aimed to help explore approaches that enable trustworthy and ethical data sharing to help citizens and businesses lower their impact on the environment, improve public services and save lives.

CCS and hydrogen will become critical industries within this decade to enable the UK to reach its decarbonisation goals, but until now there are no operational facilities in the UK. Our study explored how the key stakeholders most involved until now foresee the role of curated data, and how it can help to build a sustainable business model

– Graham Faiz, Digital Innovation Lead, DNV

Key facts and figures

  • DNV focussed its research on the emerging CCS and hydrogen industries, with the goal of understanding what role data can play in fast tracking these industries and driving towards net zero by 2050.
  • DNV took a stakeholder approach to identifying the role of data, and conducted approximately 20 interviews over 20 weeks with stakeholders across the energy and offshore oil and gas sectors. This included regulators, oil and gas operators, digital and data innovation organisations and trade associations. Representation was mainly from the UK, but also Norway and the Netherlands, as both are particularly active nations within the emerging CCS industry.
  • DNV produced a report that aims to assist the energy sector by exploring the key role data, and trusted data access initiatives, can play in supporting the investment, initiation, execution and operation of CCS, and hydrogen projects.

What was the challenge?

The oil and gas industry is a large contributor to carbon emissions, but also a key industry and provider of jobs in the UK. However, DNV’s Energy Transition Outlook forecasts that the capture, usage and storage technologies for biogases, hydrogen and carbon can offer a solution. It can help meet the pressing need for net-zero climate emissions at lower cost and disruption than current options, while also providing good jobs.

To provide context, CCS refers to a set of processes that capture carbon dioxide from waste gases produced at industrial facilities and either permanently store it in offshore geological storage sites (CCS), or reuse it in industrial processes such as the production of chemicals, minerals, plastics and synthetic fuels (CCU). Hydrogen can be split in both blue and green hydrogen. Blue hydrogen is produced by splitting natural gas into hydrogen and CO2, but capturing the carbon using CCS technology. Green hydrogen is produced by the electrolysis of water, with a process powered by zero-carbon electricity – usually wind or solar power.

These technologies hold potential to transform the oil and gas industry into the ‘decarboniser of hydrocarbons’ industry, and the world’s supplier of carbon capture and storage. These technologies could transform the sector from a leading contributor to carbon emissions, to an essential advocate and catalyst for realising climate ambitions. As there are no operational facilities in the UK today, DNV used the stimulus fund to explore the role and value that data can play in demonstrating the opportunities these emerging industries represent.

The key is that most published energy transition forecasts predict that we cannot achieve climate goals, be it Paris agreement or government specific goals, without CCS – it’s not possible to transition fast enough without it

– Jack Downie, Director of Development & Innovation, DNV

How is DNV solving the problem?

The UK energy system data landscape is complex and fragmented, with data sitting in silos across industries and stakeholders. To understand this ecosystem, and where data can play a key role, DNV took a stakeholder approach to exploring how data is (or will be) consumed by key actors. This was done by engaging and conducting interviews with trade associations, private sector organisations, and industrial partnerships. DNV used these opportunities to discuss challenges around data availability, alongside the opportunities and benefits that wider data sharing within this developing industry could deliver.

We describe how establishing trust in data between government, industry, and associations will be crucial in scaling innovation and technologies for decarbonisation. Working together to make hydrogen and CCS safe, effective, and commercially viable will give the oil and gas industry the certainty it needs to manage new risks and accelerate its transformation towards a low-carbon future

– Graham Faiz, Digital Innovation Lead, DNV

Key to DNV’s understanding of actors across the energy system was the ODI’s Data Ecosystem Mapping. This approach lead to a key finding – that while various isolated data models already exist within the supply chain, a systems-wide approach to mapping, modelling and implementing the facilitation of data sharing between actors in new industries, such as CCS and hydrogen, is a vital strategic concept, and one that will continue to be explored and detailed as these industries continue to develop.

Through this investigation, DNV has been able to produce a report outlining the key role data plays, for different players in the energy systems value chain, in support of the initiation, execution and operation of CCS and hydrogen projects. Furthermore, from a business sustainability perspective, DNV used the opportunity to understand how a trusted third-party data institution could play a vital role in the development of the emerging CCS and hydrogen landscape, and further understand the benefits of organisations, such as itself, actively engaging in the stewarding of CCS and hydrogen data.

What was the impact of taking this approach?

The research conducted by DNV offers value to stakeholders involved in the investment, initiation, execution and operation of the CCS and hydrogen industries. Through its investigation, DNV offered an understanding of the importance of data sharing, and how data generated between multiple actors can be used as a means of adhering to government policy; to derive value or facilitate monetary exchange; to build trust and improve perception with the public; and to build collective benefits for the UK society as a whole.

DNV’s work also draws attention to potentially significant impacts for the energy systems data ecosystem. The research highlights how the value of data will only be realised if specific data is pooled and collated, bound by technical and policy related guidelines – driving the emergence of energy systems data trusts. This insight makes a strong case for the development of data institutions that could play a part in supporting the validation of data assets associated with the energy transition. Moreover, DNV identified that derivative subjects and concepts, such as the establishment of data standards, data portability, data access and data trusts across the system, will be given greater attention in future.

Lessons learned

  • DNV’s report offers a framework which underscores the importance and value of data in the emerging CCS and hydrogen industries. The report will be a tool for industry stakeholders to create awareness, broaden thinking, and position the importance of a systems approach to data and data sharing in this emerging economy. The dissemination of DNV’s findings will be key to advocating for the vital need of data infrastructure, data access initiatives, and data institutions, in the shift towards net zero by 2050.
  • DNV learned early in the project that they will not be the organisation that stores and collects data for the CCS and hydrogen industries going forward – as there are many other established stakeholders and industry regulators in this space.
  • However, DNV learned the importance of a “‘trusted third party’ in the data assurance space. That being an organisation who can validate and assure the provenance, veracity and operation of data and data driven applications or algorithms.
  • There is a broad and disparate range of ‘energy data’ activities in flight across the UK and beyond. In the UK there is a clear distinction between ‘offshore’ energy data and ‘onshore’ energy data. DNV believes there is a clear space in between these two, for organisations similar to themselves to operate space – as a connector; a trusted third-party assurer; with domain knowledge at the intersection of data and the energy transition.

What next

Moving forward, DNV will engage with early-stage decarbonised energy initiatives to gain access to and insights from the data generated. This is likely to be a hydrogen related project, considering known project prospects on the horizon. DNV will leverage its position as a technical adviser to the energy industry.

Furthermore, DNV will build a pilot energy system data infrastructure, and again engage with our stakeholder interviewees to test the validity and robustness of their model.

If you are interested in DNV’s research please follow, read its public report, ‘A systems-approach to data can help install trust and enable a net zero future’ and listen to its ODI Fridays lunchtime lecture: ‘How data can help us get to a net zero economy’.

Find out more

If you are interested in the research or work ODI is doing into data institutions and data access initiatives please get in touch with a member of the team.

Other recipients of the data access stimulus fund award were Open Climate Fix, Your Dsposal, Collections Trust, Open Data Manchester, ODI Leeds and Etic Lab. Find out more about the stimulus fund and what we learned here.

Read our blog Find out more about ODI's R&D data access stimulus fund