Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


WETO-H2 — Result In Brief

Project ID: 501669
Funded under: FP6-POLICIES
Country: France

The future of energy

To achieve a more sustainable future, it is important to advance understanding of how the world's energy needs will change over the next several decades. One EU endeavour has mapped three possible outcomes.
The future of energy
With pressures such as climate change and pollution threatening the globe, the energy paradigm must shift to a more sustainable model if we want to ensure the well-being of our children. But what will the world's energy system look like in 2050?

The EU-funded project 'World energy technology outlook - 2050' (WETO-H2) has created a principle projection of the world energy system, in addition to two other scenarios based on carbon and hydrogen. The project considered world energy markets (oil and gas), constraints, new technology, climate policies, technological trends and available resources to formulate these scenarios.

WETO-H2 concluded that the world economy will be four times larger than it is today, but that the world energy consumption will only increase 2.2 times. The improved energy efficiency comes from improvements in policies, economies and technologies. The project also pointed out that increasing oil and natural gas prices reflect increasing resource scarcity, while total electricity production, by 2050, will be four times greater than today.

Among others, project results indicated that coal will be revived to produce electricity but it will be converted using new technologies. Non-fossil energy sources will partly offset coal emissions, but carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will reach a very high level of 900–1000 ppmv (parts per million by volume) in 2050. Gas consumption is expected to rise, while development of renewable energy sources will accelerate and so will a revival in nuclear energy.

The main model may be a mixed bag of good and bad, but the carbon-constrained world energy system and the hydrogen model are fairly more optimistic. These could provide researchers and policymakers with roadmaps for a greener future and inspire industry to become more ecologically oriented. The three projections are important if we are to work together for a more sustainable planet and will raise the profile of Europe in this pioneering role.

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