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Harnessing the Power of Digital Collaboration for a Sustainable Future: Insights from the Webinar

In a recent interactive webinar organised by OCLAS Consulting, Duncan Micklem, the Head of Corporate Development - Europe & Americas for Yokogawa, shared pivotal insights into the role of digital collaboration in fostering sustainable economies. The engaging conversation, hosted by Sheyi Lisk-Carew, the accomplished Founder and CEO of OCLAS Consulting, shed light on how real-time coordination of third-party operations can drive shareholder value and facilitate the transition towards net-zero and circular economies.

A Deep Dive into Carbon Neutrality: Examining Two Global Industrial Hubs

Micklem elucidated his perspectives through two captivating case studies, both featuring industrial clusters united by a shared objective: achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

The first case study transported us to an industrial area east of Tokyo, where ten independent entities, including a large steel plant, an ethylene cracker, an oil refinery, and a host of chemical and mineral processing plants, are jointly endeavouring towards carbon neutrality. This collaborative project necessitates strategic alignment with government agencies and meticulous planning to optimise utilities across assets, reduce CO2 emissions, and understand the economic implications.

Central to the project's success are Carbon Capture, Utilisation, and Storage (CCUS) technologies and the effective management of CO2 and hydrogen pipeline networks, demonstrating the power of digital technologies in managing the supply and demand of energy.

Micklem's second example led us to Europe's largest port, the Port of Rotterdam. This dynamic hub, home to numerous oil refineries, petrochemical companies, vegetable oil refineries, and biofuel plants, posed a compelling question: "Could a collective optimisation of the entire ecosystem, balancing energy demands, optimising costs, and minimising CO2 emissions through secure, real-time information sharing, lead to a sweeping improvement in energy consumption and CO2 emissions?"

Both examples underscored the pivotal role of government agencies in convening the right stakeholders and orchestrating their activities towards a shared goal.

The Nitty-Gritty of Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration

In addressing the challenges of such collaborations, Micklem compared the energy transition to the world's most significant change management programme. Key obstacles include managing conflicts of interest, navigating trust issues around data security, and balancing competition while maintaining confidentiality. However, Micklem was optimistic, stressing the collective willpower driving us towards a net-zero future and the crucial role of digital tools in circumventing these challenges.

Envisioning Sustainable Futures: The Role of Less Capital-Intensive Assets

Micklem also explored the application of digital collaboration to less capital-intensive, more widely distributed assets, such as renewable energy plants. He highlighted the role of Electricity System Operators (ESOs) and the increasing relevance of edge computing in enabling remote operations and value chain integration. Furthermore, he pointed out the emerging green hydrogen sector's innovative use of clustering concepts to drive economies of scale and lower production costs.

Closing Thoughts and Key Takeaways

Duncan Micklem distilled his insights into three powerful takeaways:

  1. Future energy systems will be intrinsically digital, requiring a firm grasp of digital project aspects.

  2. The Energy Transition is accompanied by a Digital Transition, significantly impacting how we produce, transport, and use energy.

  3. This Twin Transition will democratise the energy system, allowing more parties to produce and consume energy. Technologies like AI will be instrumental in optimising energy flows between entities.

As the discussion concluded, Micklem highlighted the necessity for data acquisition at scale, system-wide digital twins, multi-period planning, clear KPIs and target-setting, efficient transaction processing, and robust cybersecurity.

To delve deeper into these topics, Micklem offered to share a comprehensive whitepaper offering a more extensive analysis of these key points. His insightful conversation left the audience with a clearer understanding of the integral role that digital collaboration and coordination play in achieving a sustainable future.

The Role of OCLAS Consulting

OCLAS Consulting, under the seasoned leadership of Sheyi Lisk-Carew, provides a platform for such enlightening discussions, helping organisations navigate complex sustainability challenges. By facilitating dialogues between global industry leaders and offering expert advice, OCLAS Consulting drives change and creates new business opportunities.

It's been a pleasure having Duncan Micklem on the OCLAS webinar series, and we look forward to the continued exchange of ideas and thought leadership. By highlighting these opportunities and providing a platform for discussion, OCLAS demonstrates its commitment to driving value and sustainability in the energy sector.

To catch up on this enlightening webinar and hear first-hand from Duncan Micklem, the webinar recording is available here. This engaging session promises a deeper understanding of digital collaboration and sustainability in the energy sector and leaves you with crucial insights for your journey towards a sustainable future.

Remember to follow OCLAS Consulting on social media for updates on future webinars and access to a wealth of resources to guide your sustainability journey.

For further information on this topic, feel free to reach out to Duncan Micklem via LinkedIn or email.

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