Chevron is a world leader in developing and delivering energy from oil and natural gas, which will remain the world's predominant sources of energy for decades to come. But to meet the growing demand of developing economies, we will need every energy source available, including efficiency and renewables.
The skills we have honed during more than 130 years of finding, producing and delivering energy are essential as we work toward development of commercial-scale renewable resources. Our efforts are focused on research and development of renewable energy technologies that are scalable, sustainable and profitable.
Chevron is taking a pragmatic approach to renewable energy—pursuing and focusing on technologies that leverage our strengths. These include geothermal, advanced biofuels, solar and energy efficiency technologies. We conduct internal research and collaborate with governments, businesses and academia in researching and developing alternative and renewable energy sources. Through these partnerships, we share information and help to advance technology that can lead to more renewable energy for future generations.
Chevron is the largest producer of geothermal energy in the world, supplying 1,273 megawatts of installed electricity-generating capacity in Indonesia and the Philippines. Our facilities provide enough energy to meet the needs of 16 million people in these countries. Technologies and processes used in geothermal production have much in common with those for oil and gas. Chevron leverages its experience in reservoir characterization and safe and efficient drilling to produce this renewable resource created by the heat of the earth.
Energy Efficiency Business
We believe the most immediate and cost-effective sources of energy come from energy efficiency and conservation. Our subsidiary Chevron Energy Solutions (CES) is dedicated to helping its clients and our company become more energy efficient and reduce emissions through facility upgrades and the incorporation of renewable and alternative energy sources.
In September 2011, CES and the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany, Georgia, completed construction of the Navy's first landfill gas cogeneration project. The facility produces 1.9 megawatts of renewable electric power and steam by burning gas collected from a nearby landfill. When combined with lighting retrofits and an expansion of the existing energy management control system, the project is expected to reduce the base's carbon emissions by 19,300 tons per year, equivalent to removing 16,000 cars from the road.
Advanced Solar Technologies
Photovoltaic cells made from silicon alloys can convert sunlight into other forms of energy, such as heat and electricity. Steam generators using thermal collectors to heat water sometimes convert even larger amounts of solar energy into electricity. Solar power can help alleviate capacity problems on local utility grids and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by decreasing the use of electricity from fossil-fueled power plants.
In early 2011, Chevron Technology Ventures (CTV) began operations at what may be the largest concentrating solar photovoltaic power plant in the United States. The demonstration plant, at Chevron Mining Inc.'s Questa Mine in New Mexico, uses lenses to focus sunlight onto three-layer solar cells. The technology is anticipated to be twice as efficient as traditional solar panels and generate about 1 megawatt of power to be sold to a local utility.
In October 2011, CTV launched the world's largest solar-enhanced oil recovery project This unique demonstration in Coalinga, Calif., will help us learn how solar technologies can increase oil production without increasing the carbon footprint. More than 7,600 mirrors direct the sun's energy onto a boiler to generate steam. The steam is injected into wells to enable the flow of oil. The demonstration will help determine whether solar thermal technology is viable for deploying in commercial-scale projects at other Chevron facilities. CTV contracted with BrightSource Energy, Inc. , a company Chevron has invested in since 2007, for engineering, procurement and construction. The project allows BrightSource to explore nontraditional applications of solar technology for the oil and gas industry.
Biofuels are one of Chevron's renewable energy focus areas. We believe that biofuels that complement conventional transportation fuels will play an increasing role in meeting the world's growing energy needs.
We are active in all three categories of biofuels—first, second, and third generation. Almost all of the gasoline Chevron sells in the United States contains ethanol, a first-generation biofuel derived from edible sugars and starches. We also conduct research on "advanced" second- and third-generation biofuels, which limit our choice of raw materials to those that do not materially impact food or feed supplies.
In 2008, Chevron and Weyerhaeuser Co., one of the world's largest forest-products companies, formed Catchlight Energy LLC, a 50-50 joint-venture company focused on developing next-generation renewable transportation fuels from forest-based sources.
Looking to the Future
We believe alternative and renewable energy sources will play a role in meeting future energy demand—how large a role depends on many factors, including advances in technology, public acceptance and economic viability. That's one reason Chevron is a global partner of the Cleantech Open, which encourages clean technology innovation and small-business development. Our collaborative partnership helps bring emerging technologies together with companies to deliver the world's energy today and in the future.
Updated: April 2012