At their annual strategy presentation this week, Shell executives said that the company would invest an unspecified amount of money in developing a new generation of biofuels that do not use food-based crops and are less harmful to the environment. Shell is already the world’s largest buyer and blender of crop-based biofuels.
The company also said it would concentrate on developing other cleaner ways of using fossil fuels, such as carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology.
Many alternative technologies do not offer attractive investment opportunities, according to Shell. “We are businessmen and women,” said Linda Cook, executive director of gas and power. “If there were renewables [which made money] we would put money into it.”
The environmental organisation Friends of the Earth criticised the company for its decision. “Shell is backing the wrong horse when it comes to renewable energy,” the group said. “Biofuels often lead to more emissions than the petrol and diesel they replace.”
Shell, which has about 550 megawatts of wind-farm capacity around the world, pulled out last year from the 1,000-megawatt London Array project. If it is built, that joint venture in Britain’s Thames Estuary would be the world’s largest offshore wind farm.
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