Monday 11 November 17:00 - 18:00

Grantham Institute Boardroom
Imperial College London
South Kensington Campus

  • 🍻

The viability of rapid low carbon energy transitions | Professor Chris Greig

Science & Technology

This Grantham Institute seminar is given by Chris Greig was the founding director of the UQ Energy Initiative and is now Director of the Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovation. 

Risks associated with climate change have prompted calls for rapid, deep decarbonization of the global economy. Integrated Assessment Models and energy transition pathways to decarbonize all or various sectors of the economy abound the literature, giving policy makers, investors and the broader community, a level of confidence that the challenge can be met. But decarbonizing the global energy economy will require extraordinary shifts in the way we produce and consume energy services across all sectors (residential and commercial, transport, industry and agriculture) to be sustained for several decades. The overall transition is, without question achievable - the required pace of change is the critical issue - if we are to keep global average temperature rise to well below 2oC compared to pre-industrial levels.

In this presentation, I will explore a selection of key regional energy transitions in deep decarbonisation scenarios and their vulnerability to bottlenecks. Bottlenecks can be technological industrial, investment, social, economic, and/or political in nature. Our ability to identify, anticipate and resolve these bottlenecks and constraints holds the key to meeting global decarbonisation targets. I will then discuss key technological, investment and policy decision-making bottlenecks confronting specific technologies and systems, including high penetration variable renewable power and carbon capture & storage (CCS) upon which most deep-decarbonization scenarios rely.


Chris Greig is the Andlinger Visiting Fellow in Energy & Environment at Princeton University (2018-2020) Professor & Director, Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovation at The University of Queensland, Australia Chris is a Chemical Engineer having obtained his degree and PhD at the University of Queensland and is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.

Prior to becoming an academic in 2012, Chris spent almost 30 years in industry, commencing as the founder of a successful process technology and contracting company which was sold to a major international engineering company. After that, he held various senior executive roles in resources and energy, including as CEO of ZeroGen a proposed, large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) project. He has also held a number of non-executive roles including Deputy Chairman of Gladstone Ports Corporation (one of Australia’s largest energy export hubs), Chairman of the Energy Policy Institute of Australia, and as a director of two mid-tier engineering & mining firms.

Practical information:

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On the day, we recommend arriving 5 minutes before the start of the seminar. Seminars are generally followed by a drinks reception.

The Grantham Institute is located in between the Electrical and Electronic Engineering Building and the Faculty Building on this map.

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